Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Today was World Diabetes Day - an event that is celebrated globally every year on the 14 November to raise awareness about the potentially crippling disease that is diabetes. The significance of this date is that it marks the birthday of the man who co-discovered insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas, which acts to regulate your blood sugar levels), Frederick Banting.  Banting discovered insulin in 1922 alongside Charles Best.

The distinctive logo of World Diabetes Day is a blue circle as shown above.  One of the things we are encouraged to do in support of this event is wear blue clothing. There are other activities that take place to highlight this day/disease, such as famous buildings all over the world being lit up in blue, but as a girl with a passion for fashion, I decided that searching my wardrobe for blue clothes was the activity for me!

I was invited, as a Registered Nutritionist, to speak on local radio this morning (New Style Radio 98.7FM) about diabetes – the symptoms, causes and treatment - and very happily and keenly accepted. Here's a snap  of me dressed in blue and posing at the mic!

Denim Flares  Warehouse       Top Oasis          Braces  H&M               Shoes  Sacha London

Fast Facts About Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition characterized by having too much sugar in the blood. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all, and Type 2 Diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly or the body just doesn’t respond to the insulin produced. The latter is most common and it's estimated that 90% of all adults with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 2.9 million people are reported to be affected by diabetes in the UK, but it's thought that a further 850,000 people are walking around with undiagnosed diabetes. This may be because the symptoms can be quite mild in some people and therefore they go unnoticed and/or unchecked. You are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes if you are over 40 years old, have a relative with the condition, are of South-Asian or African-Caribbean descent and are overweight (BMI over 25) or obese (BMI over 30). You can check your BMI using the BMI calculator in the side panel of this page.

So why is this disease a problem? Well it can have some significant health implications, which I’m not convinced people are aware of enough. Potential complications of diabetes, which are a consequence of high blood sugar levels, include increased risk of heart disease and stroke; nerve damage, which in very severe cases can lead to amputation of limbs; vision impairment due to damage to the retina and kidney problems, which again in severe cases can lead to kidney failure and the need for kidney replacement!

Okay, so what do we need to keep an eye on for ourselves and our friends and family - what are the symptoms?

  • Urinating frequently
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss
You should visit your GP ASAP if you notice these symptoms.

What can be done about it?

As a Registered Nutritionist, my aim would be to help people keep their blood sugar levels as normal as possible.  I would advocate the following guidelines to prevent or help manage Type 2 diabetes:

  • Follow a healthy balanced diet with low GI carbohydrates such as wholegrains, oats and fruits and vegetables (see my previous post on '5 A Day') -  you don’t need to resort to diabetic foods, which can often be high in fat and expensive!
  • Don't skip meals
  • Stop smoking or at least cut down
  • Drink alcohol in moderation sticking to the safe limits
  • Engage in regular exercise  -  see my previous post on 'Don't Forget The Exercise'
  • Maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight is classified as having a BMI between 18.5 – 24.9. You can work out your BMI using the BMI calculator in the side panel of this page

Later x

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