TCS>>Family Wellness>>Health Facts

Dealing with Diabetes in the Developing World

Banu A

2011-11-04 23:06:00

November being the national diabetes month, it’s apt that we educate ourselves on this incurable illness.

November 4, 2011 (TCS) : Progress and technology are to be welcomed, but along with it we welcome its negative effects as well. One such negating factor of technology is the rising number of illness associated with it-diabetes being an important and common one.

Diabetes is a non-communicable disease that is growing at an alarming rate in Sri Lanka. It affects 10.5% of Sri Lanka’s population and of this figure, a percentage of 5 result in death.

What is it that goes wrong in the body? To make a long story short, this illness basically affects the Pancreas, which deals with producing Insulin. Insulin is the chemical that is vital in breaking down the sugars to produce the energy required by the cells. When a person has diabetes the Pancreas is unable to produce the Insulin that the body needs which results in a whole load of trouble for the body!

To make matters more complicated there are two types of Diabetes as well: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1, also known as ‘insulin-dependent diabetes’ or ‘juvenile diabetes’ is the kind of diabetes that's genetic and has to be treated with insulin shots for the rest of your life.

Type 2 diabetes is known as ‘adult-onset diabetes’ and is the most common form prevalent today. Between 90-95 % of people who suffer from diabetes are afflicted by Type 2.This type of diabetes can be prevented as it mostly occurs due to an unhealthy lifestyle pattern. The body can produce insulin, but it’s unable to produce enough to keep up with the sugar in the body.

In recent years more children have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes due to the rising percentages of childhood obesity.

In Sri Lanka 0.8% of the children less than 5 years old, are obese. It may not be much, but is steadily increasing-particularly in the urban areas. Thus it could be said that the two co relate and grow in a parallel fashion.

Dealing with the illness is hard at first. Due to the excess sugar, your kidneys filter it out which result in the need to run to the bathroom several times. Energy loss, fatigue, slow healing process, food limitations, insulin shots and more may be daunting. Nevertheless, however much difficult this is, it should not be an obstacle in living life. Even some celebrities are faced with the challenge of coping with diabetes. For example, to name a few:

Halle Berry - Diabetes didn't stop her from appearing as the super-powered mutant Storm in the X-Men movies. However, her recent statement that she's gone from having type 1 to type 2 diabetes did raise a lot of eyebrows - because it's impossible!

Nick Jonas - This 14 year-old star of the pop rock band the Jonas Brothers was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007.

Elliott Yamin - After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16, he went on to become one of the top singers on American Idol in 2006.

George Lucas - The creator of the Star Wars saga is a very mild type 2 diabetic.

Peter O'Toole - The famous actor, who voiced Anton Ego in Ratatouille, is a diabetic.

Elvis Presley - The former king of rock 'n roll had diabetes.

Sharon Stone - Halle's Catwoman co-star also suffers from type 1 diabetes.

All in all, prevention is always better than cure. Even if you are not over weight, or have a family history of diabetes, eating right and leading an active life style will halve your chances of becoming a diabetic. Remember, it’s a lifelong illness-so a few years of unhealthy lifestyle patterns are not worth bargaining for a lifetime of diabetes!


Pics: Google Images.