One in two people have diabetes but are undiagnosed. Almost half, 45%, of the four million South Africans living with diabetes don’t even know they have it. This emerged in a recent online broadcast on diabetes management hosted by Health For Mzansi.
To observe Diabetes Month in November, Damaris Kiewiets, Olivia Losper, Dr Rushaan Gaffoor, and Lynne MacCallum shared their insights during a panel discussion on living with diabetes in Mzansi.
Kiewiets, a health activist and community liaison at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) community engagement unit, noted that people living with diabetes could live fulfilling lives when they accepted diagnosis. There is a light at the end of the bleak tunnel through changed behavior and healthy habits.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that has plagued her own family. “If I’m diagnosed with diabetes, that means that one of my children or grandchildren can basically pick up the disease along the way.”
Keep it positive
Learning to modify your outlook on life when you are diagnosed with diabetes is important for maintaining a healthy balance, says Gafoor.
Gaffoor is the clinical manager of health services at the department of health in the Drakenstein region.
People with diabetes should regularly consult their physicians on a wide range of important topics, including risk factors, appropriate and inappropriate diet, triggers for diabetes, and so on.
She warns that complications such as blindness, stroke, and heart attack, may have devastating effects if they are not addressed in time.
Incorporating regular exercise and a good nutrition
Paarl-based nutritionist MacCallum recommends having a meal plan to maintain a healthy life. “Eat your rainbow diet, eat as much fruit and veggies as you can.”
Meanwhile, Losper, the owner of LivFit gym in Paarl, says that the goal of the management process is to work out in a way that is convenient and enjoyable for you.
“Our exercise releases stress, it lets us cope with things like ‘living with diabetes’. Just to get a strong mind, you can be a strong person.”
In the session, the experts also explore the following:
- Adapting a lifestyle as a family unit;
- Instilling a healthy lifestyle in children; and
- Having a mind-blowing relationship with plants.
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