Common ailments


I am a 40 year old woman with a very sweet tooth. I crave sugary foods all the time and I’m worried that I might end up with diabetes.  Both my mother and grandmother are diabetic and my understanding is that I am therefore at high risk of developing diabetes too. Is there any way I can prevent it?

Diabetes is a long-term condition that affects the body's ability to process sugar or glucose. Although the condition can have serious health consequences, with careful management a person with diabetes can lead a normal healthy life.

People with diabetes are not able to stop the levels of glucose in their body from getting too high. This is either because a hormone called insulin is absent from their body (type 1 diabetes), or their body isn’t producing enough insulin (type 2 diabetes).

Just because you have high blood sugar doesn’t mean that eating a lot of sugary foods is what got you there. However, a diet high in sugar and unhealthy foods generally can lead to weight gain, and that is the main reason, in most people, for them developing type 2 diabetes. When you gain weight, hormones produced by the extra body fat may mean you start to need more insulin to process your blood glucose effectively. Eventually your need for insulin may be so high that your pancreas cannot supply enough of it, resulting in diabetes.

It is better to focus on avoiding weight gain by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet than focusing specifically on avoiding sugars. Also, try to be active for at least 30 minutes each day, not just to help manage your weight but also because exercise helps insulin work more effectively.

It is true that diabetes often runs in families and if one of your parents is diabetic, your chances of developing diabetes are significantly higher. It is, however, by no means certain that you will develop the condition because it runs in your family and if you make efforts to achieve or stay at a normal weight then this puts off the day when you might develop diabetes.


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