What’s the deal with Diabetes?

Diabetes is a topic that’s important but often misunderstood. You might be surprised to learn that in Africa, a whopping 24 million adults are living with diabetes, and half of them might not even know it. Let’s chat about what diabetes is and how we can tackle it together.


So, what is Diabetes?

Diabetes isn’t just one disease. Diabetes (or in technical terms Diabetes mellitus) refers to a group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose).


What is the link between diabetes and insulin?

Insulin is a chemical in your body that moves glucose from your blood into cells all over your body. Without enough insulin, glucose can’t get into your cells and give you energy. Instead, it builds up in your blood which leads to high blood sugar and diabetes. Over time, this can cause serious health problems like heart disease, blindness, and kidney disease.


3 Most Common Types of Diabetes

  1. Type 1 Diabetes: The body can’t make any insulin at all and this condition is more common in younger people.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes: The body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it properly. It occurs due to family history or physical inactivity
  3. Gestational Diabetes: This happens during pregnancy from around 24-28 weeks, and normally goes away after giving birth.


Symptoms to Watch For

  • Thirst
  • Needing to pee very often
  • Weight loss without trying to lose weight
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Being constantly hungry
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Dry skin
  • Sores that take a long time to heal
  • More infections than usual


Type 1 diabetes symptoms can develop in just a few weeks and can be severe. Type 2 diabetes symptoms often take years to develop and some people don’t notice any symptoms. Symptoms for gestational diabetes are also usually mild.


Managing Diabetes

Your doctor will help you treat diabetes, but these are general guidelines:

  • People with Type 1 need insulin injections for the rest of their lives.
  • Type 2 might be managed with lifestyle changes, along with insulin injections or tablets.
  • Gestational diabetes might need insulin injection or tablets, if lifestyle changes haven’t helped. You can read about easy diet changes here.



By understanding what diabetes is, how to spot it, and ways to manage it, you can live life to the fullest – sweetly and healthily!


References https://files.aho.afro.who.int/afahobckpcontainer/production/files/iAHO_Diabetes_Regional_Factsheet.pdf https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355345 https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/types-of-diabetes https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9012-gestational-diabetes


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