The sweetest thing

Diabetes is a condition that continues to wreak havoc

Diabetes is on the increase
Control your sugar intake

Diabetes is usually a lifelong (chronic) disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. Often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, it describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.

Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).

Diabetes has not only reached epidemic proportions but it is also said to continue increasing exponentially. The World Health Organisation predicts that there will be over 334 million people living with diabetes worldwide. With todays lifestyles and the associated weight gain, there are currently one billion overweight adults globally, of whom 300 million are obese.

We have made significant strides in terms of treatment and management of diabetes, several of them launched in South Africa. "However, diet and lifestyle modification remains a cornerstone of diabetes management and should always be the first measure implemented," says Johannesburg-based specialist physician, Dr Adri Kok.

Using low-kilojoule sweeteners in beverages and other foods can assist people in reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight and is also helpful for glucose control for people with diabetes.

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