Diabetes management: You'll need a guide

Why aren’t we taking better care of diabetics?

30 November 2020

Diabetes has been known about since antiquity, but there is still no cure, and about 450 million people are thought to have the disease globally. Around $800 billion is spent annually on diabetes-related healthcare. Left unmanaged, the disease attacks the small blood vessels, which prevents the right amount of oxygen flowing to the extremities. This can result in damage to the fingers and toes, eyes, kidneys and heart, which can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes are also particularly susceptible to the ravages of Covid-19, and in the Western Cape, as of August, about 42% of those who died were people with diabetes, even though they only make up to 10% of the general population.

Simply put, diabetes is a disease that results in high blood sugar. This is because the body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone insulin, or can’t properly use the insulin it does produce. This means the body can’t metabolise carbohydrates, protein and fats effectively, and glucose then stays in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed into the body’s cells.

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