(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterised by high blood glucose levels. It is a major public health problem affecting hundreds of millions across the world.
If untreated, diabetes can lead to severe complications including blindness, kidney problems, heart disease, stroke, loss of limbs, and reduced life expectancy, according to Dr Veena Varma, Specialist Internal Medicine, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah.
Type I or insulin-dependent diabetes and Type II or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is commonly associated with obesity. Insulin treatment is usually unnecessary as dietary measures and sometimes oral medications are sufficient.
Persons who are obese are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, particularly if a close family member is afflicted with diabetes. After a person eats a meal, the concentration of glucose in the blood reaches a certain point, then the beta cells in pancreas are stimulated to release insulin into the blood. Insulin's job is to deliver sugar to cells to provide them with energy.
When a person is overweight, the cells in the body become less sensitive to the insulin that is released from the pancreas.
If a person has more fat cells than muscle cells, then the insulin becomes less effective overall, and glucose remains circulating in the blood instead of being taken to the cells to be used as energy.
High circulating blood glucose levels stimulate increased production of insulin by the pancreas. Gradually pancreatic beta cells are exhausted and they cannot produce sufficient insulin to maintain blood glucose levels and this leads to type-2 diabetes
Get more physical activity
Exercise can help you to lose weight, lower your blood sugar, boost your sensitivity to insulin. Greatest benefit comes from a fitness programme that includes both aerobic exercise and resistance training. Overweight adults can reduce their diabetes risk by 16 per cent for every kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of weight lost.
Get plenty of fiber
Eat foods high in fiber that include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Go for whole grains
Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and many cereals. Look for the word 'whole' on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
When to see your doctor
You're age 45 or older and overweight
You're younger than age 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes - such as a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of diabetes