#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Family History Of Diabetes

Hi Dr. Ketch, I am a 22-year old boy. My father died of diabetes and most of his brothers are also infected with the disease. Not only that, my elder brother told me that our grandfather could have died of the same disease long ago in the village. Is there any chance for us, the children, to fall on the same line of the diabetes? If so, how can we prevent it?

A: Hi dear, thanks for writing in. Unfortunately, yes, if you have a family history (parents or siblings) of diabetes mellitus, you are more likely to have the same condition. BUT, that does not mean that you will have the condition. Having a positive family history is like having a loaded gun. The gun may be loaded for hundreds of years and cause no harm….provided nobody pulls the trigger. The problem only starts when the trigger is pulled. In the same way, having risk factors is like having a loaded gun. Going ahead to do things that increase your risk like not eating right or not exercising, is definitely pulling the trigger.

Find below, a reminder class on diabetes mellitus with potential triggers.

Usually starchy foods we eat are converted to glucose. The body, in response to the presence of glucose in the blood, releases insulin from the pancreas. The insulin helps the glucose to move into the cells where it is needed. In Diabetes Mellitus, it is either insulin is no longer or barely being produced (Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus) or the insulin is being produced in insufficient amounts or the cells no longer responds to the insulin prod (stimulus. The latter is called Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

There is little or nothing that can be done to prevent Type 1 as it is not yet clear what causes the body to destroy the cells that produce insulin in the body. People with this type of DM will require insulin injections. However, people with Type 2 DM can control their DM using a combination of diet and exercise (staying lean and staying active). With time though, they may require oral drugs and/or insulin.

Now, how do we make exercise a part of our day? You need at least 30 minutes daily. The requirement per week is 150 minutes and so you could do 30 minutes on 5 days of the week or 1 hour on 3 days of the week. Just break it up and find ways of doing the things you love in a more active way. Activity/exercise ideas are pillow fights, arm wrestling, taking walks, dancing, joining a gym, jumping jacks during commercial breaks etc. At work, being more active speaks to getting up and walking on the spot whenever you get a phone call, walking to the printer to pick up documents and walking to colleagues’ desks to ask questions/confirm issues, walking over to the bank ATM instead of driving there, using the stairs and not the elevators, installing an exercise/activity reminder on your computer to remind you to get active if you forget to do any of the above 😀

How can we make healthy foods the easier choice? Surround yourself with the right foods. Fresh fruits, veggies, dried fruits (which can also be added t nuts), nuts, dairy like yoghurt etc Then make the right choices. It’s one thing to buy up all the healthy things that have been suggested, it’s another to eat them and not reach for the doughnut that your colleague just brought into the office. In our high powered, we-are-all-busy-racing-to-somewhere world, eating breakfast may sound like a luxury, few can afford, but guess what? Studies have shown that eating breakfast may reduce the risk of obesity and Diabetes. So, whether you’re skipping breakfast because you think you don’t have time or because you want to lose weight by kipping meals, it’s bad news. So, how can you ensure that you’re not only eating breakfast but eating the right foods?

Here are our tips for eating a healthy breakfast on the run:

Oatmeal is always a great idea. Rich in fiber which reduce cholesterol and help protect your heart and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. If you’re not a huge fan of oatmeal, you could sprinkle some cinnamon on it and be sure to take with skimmed milk. Another idea for oatmeal I learnt from a chef is overnight oats. Soak your oats with milk and unsweetened yoghurt overnight (just enough to cover the oats). Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, bring out and sprinkle some cinnamon, add some apple or banana slices, a couple of nuts (optional)…and you’ve got a delicious bowl of healthy deliciousness in your hands! Some whole wheat/grain cereals (unsweetened) also not go amiss. Whole grain bread with peanut or almond butter (peanut butter is just ground up peanuts or groundnuts), an egg with a cup of fresh juice or some fruit slices also sounds good If you want to go for a smoothie, be sure to add some veggies (carrots, a handful of green leafy veggies etc) to ensure it is super healthy and not just another sugar rush 😀

Have a good night, y’all 😀


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