As a medical doctor, I never know what I will encounter during a consultation. Each day is full of surprises. Consultations may call for lifesaving resuscitations, treating a domestic violence patient or simply examining a discoloured fingernail.
Whatever the case, it is essential to the wellbeing of my patient and therefore of utmost importance to me. What I can, however, say with almost certainty, is that a week will most likely never go by without diabetes patients flocking to the consultation rooms.
Here are their reoccurring questions that may be of general interest to you. Please note that these are by no means a diagnosis and don’t in any way promote not consulting your health professionals to get a diagnosis and treatment plan that is best suited to your needs.
Q1: In one sentence, what’s diabetes and how could it affect me?
A1: Diabetes mellitus is a chronic or lifelong condition that affects the human body’s ability to use the energy found in food.
Q2: I keep hearing about “type this” and “type that” of diabetes… What’s that all about?
A2: There are three major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
Q3: Could I have diabetes and simply not know it?
A3: Most definitely, I recently read through stats that estimated that about 66% of adults with diabetes do not know they have diabetes.
Q4: I feel so alone after my diagnosis. Am I the only one with this condition?
A4: You certainly are not alone. Quoted in Health24 article in 2017, Dr Larry Distiller, founder and managing director of the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology in Johannesburg, said that “three-and-a-half million South Africans (about 6% of the population) suffer from diabetes and there are many more who are undiagnosed,” If you are feeling down and need to consult, you’re welcome to contact U-care for psychological counselling. You can also contact a relevant health professional or Lifeline for 24-hour counselling by calling +2711 422 4242 OR 0861 322 322. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Whatever you do, please reach out.
Q5: From what I have gathered, lots of people have diabetes. No one really dies of it, right?
A5: Wrong. About 1 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year worldwide, and diabetes is the direct or indirect cause of at least 200,000 deaths each year. Please speak to your medical practitioner to discuss your particular case and what can be done to improve your quality of life.
Q6: What’s this I hear about being overweight and diabetes? Is that a myth or something haters use to discourage “full figures”?
A6: The sad reality is that the incidences of type 2 diabetes are increasing rapidly. One of the driving factors for type 2 diabetes is undoubtedly the increasing incidence of obesity associated with an inactive lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled with diet, weight loss, exercise, and oral medications. However, more than half of all people with type 2 diabetes will require insulin to manage their blood sugar levels at some point during their illness if they do not respond to lifestyle changes and oral medication.
Q7: What happens if I leave it untreated? I mean surely it is not a train smash, especially considering how so many people seem to have diabetes…
A7: Please don’t neglect your treatment. If left untreated, diabetes can eventually cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and nerve damage on your feet.
For more information and to speak to your doctor about your concerns, please contact U-Care Medical Centre, your local clinic or hospital without delay. You can find out about blood tests, the different types of diabetes, the risk factors, pre-diabetes, how to manage diabetes, causes and symptoms and a who lot more.
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