How to Manage and Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes occurs because the body cannot use glucose properly, either owing to a lack of the hormone insulin, or because the insulin available does not work effectively.

• In type 1, the body is unable to produce any insulin. This usually starts in childhood or young adulthood. It is treated with diet control and insulin injections.

• In type 2, not enough insulin is produced or the insulin that is made by the body does not work properly. This tends to affect people as they get older, and usually appears after the age of 40.

Those at risk include:

• People over 40, or over 25 and African-Caribbean, Asian or from a minority ethnic group
• People with a close family member who has type 2 diabetes
• People who are overweight/obese or who have a large waist size (>102cm for men ; >88cm for women)
• Women who have had high blood sugar in pregnancy (gestational diabetes)

Some common symptoms include:

• Frequent urination
• Unusual thirst
• Extreme hunger
• Unusual weight loss
• Extreme fatigue and Irritability
• Frequent infections
• Blurred vision
• Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
• Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
• Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections

The first step in the treatment of diabetes is to control the sugar level. The next step is to prevent the physical harm it can cause.

Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause diabetes problems and complications. This high blood glucose, also called blood sugar, can damage many parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. Heart and blood vessel disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes. You can do a lot to prevent or slow down diabetes problems.



Tip 1: Get more physical activity

It is important to get off the couch. Whether you lose weight or not, physical activity lowers blood sugar and boosts your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range. Research shows that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes, but the greatest benefits come from a fitness program that includes both. Aerobic exercises are light exercises like aerobics, walking or light jogging. Resistance training on the other hand includes outdoor sports like football or basketball and indoor like gym work or weight lifting.

Tip 2: Get plenty of fiber

It is rough, it is tough — and it may reduce the risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Tip 3: Go for whole grains

Whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and ready-to-eat cereals. Look for the word "whole" on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list (examples - Wheetabix, whole oatmeal, sesame seeds etc)

Tip 4: Lose extra weight

If you are overweight (BMI >25kg/m2), diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every 10% weight you lose can improve your health dramatically. If your ideal weight is 70kg, but you weigh 80kg, you should start by loosing 8kg to improve your health.

Tip 5: Skip fad diets and make healthier choices

Low-carb, low-glycemic load or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first, but their effectiveness at preventing diabetes is not known; nor is their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, think variety and portion control as part of an overall healthy-eating plan.


Follow the healthy eating plan that you and your doctor or dietitian have worked out. A good plan consists of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals (vegetables and fruits)
Be active a total of 30 minutes most days. Ask your doctor what activities are best for you
Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations and have regular consultations with your doctor.
Check your blood glucose every day. Each time you check your blood glucose, write the number in your record book.
Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails
  Brush your teeth every day.
Check your blood pressure and cholesterol regularly
Don’t smoke.