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Battling Diabetes: a lifestyle issue

Among the diseases the world has faced over the years, diabetes has continued to deny many people a healthy life, however health experts say that there is need for individual proactiveness to avert and curtail the chronic disease.

A Lecturer at Levy Mwanawasa Medical University(LMMU) Ilukani Sinkala says treating diabetes is demanding hence it is important for everyone to be resilient and committed in taking taking care of their health.

The Lecturer says it is crucial to frequently monitor and control blood sugar levels to prevent health challenges.

“If left untreated or poorly managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications like heart disease, kidney failure, vision impairment and nerve damage,” she says.

World Health Organization (WHO) defines diabetes as a chronic condition resulting from insufficient insulin production or ineffective insulin use.

There are two primary types of diabetes: Type 1 which necessitates daily insulin injections due to the body’s inability to produce insulin and Type 2 caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and lack of body exercises.

27 year-old Sarah Musonda of Lusaka’s Matero says she’s been battling diabetes for two years and the journey has been a mountain to climb.

Diagonised with Type 1 diabetes, Ms Musonda emphasizes the need to balance and monitor what one eats or consumes on a daily basis.

“Everyday is about balancing what you eat, but understanding my body has been very empowering for me,” she says.

Ms Musonda says fighting diabetes has been difficult but with the guidance and support from her family, it has made the burden less heavy.

With a downcast voice,she recounts what had become a ritual of insulin injections to jumpstart her ailing body.

“I can not remember a day when insulin injections were not a daily ritual for me, turning me into a proactive guardian of my own well being,” she says.

A nutrition expert at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) Esther Kowa believes that planning and knowing what nutrients are found in some edibles is a significant step in managing the chronic disease.

“Meal planning is key and one of the vital aspect in combating diabetes,” she says “Create a diverse plate with a variety of colours and textures to ensure a range of nutrients without spiking blood sugar.”

John Banda,53 of Lusaka’s Lilanda reflects the moment he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes eight years ago, describing the disease as an ‘unwelcome companion’

With a calm voice and an aura of peace of mind,he recalls the doctor urging him to make lifestyle changes to live a healthier life.

“Managing diabetes is like walking on thin ice, it requires a delicate balance between medication, diet and lifestyle,” he says, “And if one step is missed ,there are serious consequences.”

Before been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 Mr Banda exprienced increased thirst, frequent urination,weight loss and fatigue.

“These signs can develop slowly with time and many people may not notice until the condition is more advanced,” he says.

Mr Banda encourages people to regularly go for checkups and physical examinations to ensure they are living a healthy life.

Diabetes is a major health challenge , silently taking lives hence there is need for one to be responsible of their lifestyle and heed to advice by health experts.

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