What is Diabetes? A. It’s a Way of Life!
Are you one of more than 3 million people in the UK who lead a diabetic’s life? Or are you one of over 600 thousand people in the UK who should be leading a diabetic’s life, but don’t know it yet? If you even suspect you may have diabetes you should get tested by your GP. If and when they confirm a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes you will then need to make a choice: Change your way of life, for the rest of your life, or suffer the consequences.
A diabetic’s way of life is one where you are constantly aware of how your body is working. Or more accurately, you are aware of how your body is NOT working, quite like every other non-diabetic body. The human body is like an immensely complex 3 dimensional jigsaw puzzle. For ‘type 1’ diabetics there is a single vital piece missing from their bodily jigsaw. For ‘type 2’ diabetics there is a piece that doesn’t quite fit into place within their bodily jigsaw.
A diabetic’s life is one of doing the things necessary to maintaining their bodies in the absence of insulin. This means eating the right things, doing the right amount of exercise and controlling their weight, also of course taking the man-made insulin to complete the jigsaw puzzle.
Modern medical science has miraculously enabled the diabetic’s way of life. Before the invention of the microscope, before the discovery of genes and hormones, diabetics died young. Type 1 diabetes is where your body does not produce insulin at all, or insufficient insulin to do the glucose absorption job. This is the vital piece of the jigsaw of survival, missing for so many people. It generally shows itself in people before the age of 40.
Insulin is a hormone that links your body’s cells together with the glucose in our food. It is like the fuel pump in the engine of our bodies. When glucose can’t get into our cells and give us energy for life, it just has to sit there and build up until we can dump it through the usual channels. Without energy, a diabetic way of life is very unpleasant and potentially deadly.
A Genetic Disease
Diabetes is a disease of the genes. You cannot catch it from another person or from a virus. You either have it or you don’t. Either your pancreas makes enough good insulin, to carry your entire glucose intake into your body, or it doesn’t. Or possibly your pancreas makes the wrong kind of insulin that doesn’t transmit glucose effectively enough for a non-diabetic life. In the first case you have ‘type 1’ diabetes, in the second case it is ‘type 2’ diabetes. Both give the same outcome…a diabetic way of life.
You have to be genetically predisposed to have to live the diabetic way of life. But your lifestyle choices can make matters worse. A poor diet, insufficient exercise, being overweight and smoking will all compound the diabetic’s difficulties. The only alternative to a diabetic way of life is a poor quality, unhealthy way of life and an earlier death. When compared to those of the non-diabetic population. You see there is no cure for a malfunctioning pancreas. Unless you live a focussed diabetic way of life, compensating constantly for your inability to absorb glucose like a healthy person, you will constantly feel the symptoms of too much glucose in your blood and not enough energy in your muscles.
A diabetic way of life is a good way of life! It is about moderation in all things, eating lots of ‘real’ food, mostly plants, taking moderate exercise, without over exertion. Not drinking alcohol to excess and avoiding tobacco fumes at all costs. Really it is the sensible choice for everyone. Diabetics simply have a greater motivation to take it up.