Your Mother/Father, your Sister/Brother have type 2 diabetes. It's just a matter of time before you are diagnosed with it too, right? Not necessarily. Family history is an important risk factor for diabetes, however, it is not the only risk. Your weight, specifically being obese, getting older, and the lack of exercise, are among some of the things that can significantly increase a person's chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Except for family history and getting older,
obesity and exercise are within our control.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce the hormone insulin or does not properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is key to regulating carbohydrate (the energy component of the diet) and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes the cells in the liver, muscle and fat tissue to take glucose (sugar) from the blood, store it as glucose which can later be used to meet the body's sudden need for glucose.
Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, is needed by the body to keep glucose in balance. Having too little glucose prevents the brain from functioning at its best. Having too much
glucose can cause damage to the heart and kidneys. Glucose comes from food, mainly
carbohydrates, found in sweets, breads, cereals, and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease with no cure to date, yet there is a lot of research in progress. Management of this chronic disease may include carefully managing diet, exercising, taking
oral diabetes medication, and/or using some form of insulin. One complication of diabetes is
the effect on circulation in the extremities which may be further complicated by external factors such as stress, illness, menses, injection site scarring and other physiological factors unique to individual patients.
There are several symptoms of diabetes which may be expressed in the body such as extreme thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, unexplained weight loss, numbness in the hands or feet and/or blurred vision. A test of the blood sugar confirms that you have diabetes. Many people either ignore the symptoms while others may not display symptoms and unfortunately are then diagnosed with the disease much later after significant damage has been done to their body.
Prevention and regular medical check-ups are key. It is much better, if we all live a lifestyle that includes lots of vegetables and fruit, daily exercise and knowledge, so that diabetes will not be a part of our future.
Aisha Hasan-Rasool, WHNP-BC
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Essential Living for Muslim Women Inc Breast Health Initiative