The 14th of November is World Diabetes Day. In fact, November is Diabetes Awareness Month. At Healthy Living London, we have a lot of incredible writers, each with their own health journey. It just so happened that I am one of them and I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for over 15 years.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes can show itself in a variety of forms, but there are 2 main types: Type 1 and Type 2. Both these conditions are concerned with the ability of the body to produce and utilise insulin, but they are inherently different. Insulin is an essential hormone, which a healthy pancreas produces. It allows glucose molecules absorbed from food to enter cells and get energy from them. When insulin is absent or cannot enter our cells, they cannot get energy. The body then starts producing increased amounts of ketone bodies, which will eventually poison the blood and lead to serious complications, and possibly even lethal consequences.
The two types of diabetes have very little in common.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, were the pancreas of the individual shuts down and stops producing insulin. This type is treated with insulin therapy, and is not caused by lifestyle choices or eating too much sugar. It is usually diagnosed in childhood or teenage years, but there are cases of diagnosis in people up to 75 years old. There is currently no cure for Type 1 diabetes, but progress in technology is making it a lot easier for people to live with it.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that commonly develops later on in life. It happens when body cells become resistant to insulin. The pancreas still produces insulin, but the cells do not want to accept it, and glucose is disabled from entering them. This condition, in most cases, can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices, balanced nutrition and regular activity.
Living with diabetes? What can we do to prevent it?
Living with diabetes requires constant managing of blood sugars. In Type 1, this can only be done through the use of insulin. In Type 2 diet and activity alone can be sufficient to control them, and even reverse diabetes. Eating a diet that includes foods which have the most gradual effect on blood sugars and including exercise into your lifestyle on a daily basis will significantly lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and also reduce the chance of numerous other health complications.
Why do we need to know about diabetes?
Understanding what diabetes is, is important because no one is protected from the condition. There are currently 4.7 million people with diabetes living in the UK (Diabetes UK. 2020), 90% of those people are Type 2’s, only 8% have Type 1 and about 2% have other rarer types of diabetes. There are a lot of people with the condition, and a lot of stigma attached to both types, which affect the mental health and wellbeing of individuals living with it.
Diabetes should be spoken about, as it is a complicated condition and people with should not be treated differently. Understanding what diabetics live with will massively help your relationships and make life much easier for them. In honour of Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day, go check in with anyone you know with diabetes: write them a message and ask them how they are! If you don’t know anyone, reach out to me on Instagram @t1level_daria ! Help raise awareness and generate conversation about this complex condition!
Best resources to find out more about diabetes:
About Daria Arofikina
I am an Online Fitness Coach and a Personal Trainer, with a limitless love for all things fitness, food and balanced lifestyle. As a huge supporter of fitness as a lifestyle, I believe in flexible training (listening to your body, but also pushing yourself at the right times). I am also a Type 1 Diabetic, and provide coaching to Type 1 Diabetic clients, as well as non-Type 1 clients. My goal is to demonstrate that everything in life is possible and can be achieved with the correct mindset, support and preparation.
I love to make new connections and am always open to new opportunities, so, please, drop me a message! I would love to hear from you!