It’s not just about sugar

by 16 Oct 2007

Without thinking, we access higher calorie foods in greater amounts, engage in less physical activity, and become entrapped or entranced by electronic wizardry.

Unfortunately, early signs of diabetes produce little grief for most people and so self-treatment includes denial or rationalisation.

Diabetes is the name given to a group of different conditions in which there is too much glucose in the blood.

There are two main forms of the condition and diagnosis is confirmed by finger prick (venous blood). Type 1 diabetes, usually referred to as juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, ie IDDM, can and does occur at any age affecting predominantly children and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease and is strongly associated with high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where there is extra weight around the waist.

Common clinical features of the disease range from no overt symptoms and signs through to: passing urine every one to two hours; thirst; tiredness and fatigue; infection, particularly of the skin and genitals; loss of weight (IDDM); blurred vision; tingling of feet; impotence; and arterial disease (ie cold hands and feet, heart vessel disease).

Exercise; keep a sensible weight (by the charts and not by ‘guesstimation’); a proper diet is the key to success and so a low fat, low sugar diet is required; minimise alcohol intake; terminate smoking; care for your feet; applying all the above (self-discipline) will help give you a normal life

Plan to have a yearly assessment relating to blood glucose, weight and blood pressure. These services are easy to access from your corporate health provider or family GP.

By Dr Ian McPherson, executive manager – medical services, Peak Health Management. Email or visit

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