NOVEMBER is national Diabetes Month. The focus is on how the condition impacts people’s lives and how to lower the risks.

Diabetes occurs when your glucose (blood sugar) is too high.

Blood glucose is the main source of energy for our bodies and comes from the food we eat.

The pancreas produces insulin that helps the glucose get into your cells to be used for energy.

With diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or respond properly to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. And this leads to Type 2 diabetes.

It is also closely associated with obesity, and yet you can be insulin resistant without being overweight.

Diabetes doesn’t always stem from a person being overweight or leading an inactive lifestyle.

Sometimes, it is present from childhood. Without proper management, diabetes can lead to a build-up of sugar in the blood – and that can lead to heart diseases and stroke.

Three types of diabetes: Type 1: This type of diabetes occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes take artificial insulin daily as they are insulin dependent.

Type 2: This affects the way the body uses insulin. The body still makes insulin, but unlike in Type 1 diabetes, the cells in the body don’t respond to it effectively.

Gestational diabetes: This type occurs in women when their bodies become less sensitive to insulin. But it doesn’t occur in all women and resolves after giving birth.

Factors that increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes: Obesity, family history, physical inactivity, a history of heart diseases or stroke, high-blood pressure, age, high cholesterol.

Symptoms include: Fatigue and hunger, slow healing cuts and wounds, With time, high blood sugar can affect your blood flow and result in nerve damage which makes it hard for your body to heal wounds. numbness and pain in the legs or feet.

This also results from nerve damage. feeling thirsty and urinating more often, d: Normally the body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through the kidneys. Sometimes when diabetes pushes your blood sugar up, your kidneys may not be able to bring it all back in which can result in you needing to pee more often than usually mouth and itchy skin.

How to avoid diabetes: To keep it in control, Coetzee sis you must Limit your alcohol intake, eat a healthy, balanced diet, fruits, veggies and foods with high fibre, go for regular check-ups and exercise.

: The body uses fluids to make pee meaning that there is less moisture for other things and that can result in dehydration.

: If your cells reject the insulin that your body makes or if your body does not make any or enough insulin, the glucose can’t reach them which makes you more hungry and tired than usual.

Gert Coetzee, Pharmacist and Diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About, said healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle overall can help you reduce your risks of getting diabetes.

“Taking steps to prevent or control or prevent diabetes does not necessarily mean living in deprivation, it simply means eating a healthy, balanced diet which will also improve your energy levels,” he said.