Diabetes becoming No1 killer

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Lifestyle changes the key to keeping diabetes at bay.

South Africa commemorated International Diabetes Month on 14 November at a time when the ailment is said to be increasing globally.

In a statement, the International Diabetes Federation said the ailment will be the leading cause of death among adults in South Africa by 2040. “Currently, one in 11 adults in the country has diabetes which accounts for over 12,8per cent of deaths among people aged 20 to 79.”

Despite this, Douglas Craythorne of Chemical, Industrial and Pharmaceutical Laboratories said there are effective approaches to prevent Type 2 diabetes, its complications and the premature deaths from all types of diabetes. “It’s vital that individuals at risk of developing the disease are educated on appropriate preventative measures. Also, those already diagnosed with diabetes should understand how to best manage their condition.”

Craythorne said Type 2 diabetes, commonly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, accounts for approximately 87 to 91 percent of all recorded cases. “It’s associated with heart diseases and stroke and its common symptoms include frequent urinating, thirst, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision.”

He said it can be avoided through lifestyle changes in the diet like limiting and replacing red and processed meat with nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and polyunsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.

According to the statement, “Consumption of sugary drinks and treats should also be kept to a minimum.”

Individuals are also advised to engage in regular exercises to control their weight and avoid obesity and to avoid smoking.

Craythorne added that research has shown that it may be possible to reverse Type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes, adherence to treatment and doctor’s advice. He further advised everyone to also learn to recognize the early signs of diabetes and take the necessary steps to avoid becoming part of the statistic.