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We all love to hear stories of the good old days. Did you know that there was a time when we did not know much about diabetes? Not because we were less educated but because the disease was not a pandemic like it is today. Those were the good old days. It was not until early in the 1990s that this chronic disease of lifestyle started making headlines in the health centres of developing countries and today diabetes is like a brand name for most families, especially those living in urban areas.

The common symptoms of diabetes are excessive thirst, loss of feeling, general body weakness, excessive hunger, poor eyesight, slow healing of wounds and, in some cases, weight loss. Left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney damage, immune disorder, leg amputation, stroke, heart disease and finally, death. The risk factors include diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol and genetic weakness. There are two common types of diabetes known as type 1

and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes, which is also called insulin-dependent diabetes, usually occurs among children but you have to live with it for the rest of your life. It is caused when one’s immune system damages the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for making insulin. The victim depends on artificial insulin which is injected on a daily basis. According to most health authorities, it is recommended that mothers with babies invest in the health of the child through exclusive breastfeeding. It is a known fact in clinical practice that when no animal or artificial milk is introduced during the first six months of a child’s life, it greatly lowers the risk for diabetes type 1. Type 2 diabetes affects 90 percent of diabetic patients and that is what we want to discuss at this point. Many people have blamed genetics; however, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Genetic weaknesses are like a loaded rifle – it is a lifestyle that pulls the trigger.

Just because you were born with a genetic weakness, inherited from your parents, does not mean that you will one day become diabetic. You need to expose this weakness to a diet and lifestyle that triggers diabetes. The good and comforting news is that diabetes type two is potentially preventable whether you were born with the weakness or not.

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