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The Hideous Side of Diabetes

Updated on December 26, 2014

Diabetes and its Side Effects

It was during one of my usual visit to Canberra Hospital, where I spent a couple of hours on certain days visiting people who had no other visitors, that the unexpected happened. One old lady had been on my list for some time as she had no visitors and was virtually bedridden. While with her on this occasion it was impossible to ignore the pain of an elderly lady in a bed opposite. She was literally bawling her eyes out.

Leaving my charge I went across to her bed and asked if I could help her in some way. Her response was dramatic and it almost sent me into an emotional melt down.

"They are going to cut my leg off in the morning," she sobbed. "How would you like it if they were going to cut your leg off?" She was desperate and by now so was I.

"Why are they doing this?" I asked.

"I kicked my toe when I was getting out of the shower and it went all black and would not heal up. I have diabetes and this is something that happens." She was at least responding to my questions. Trying to be as compassionate as I could I sympathised with her and soon made my exit to find a nurse to bring her more comfort and probably a sedative.

This was the first time hearing of someone losing a limb because of diabetes. In years to come the loss of eyesight, kidney impairment and leg amputation were all facts that became known to me through friends, research and hospital visits. The best way to avoid these things is to avoid diabetes

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Sugar on sweet foods
Sugar on sweet foods

Sugar and Diabetes

Sugar intake and obesity primary causes of diabetes

This disease is related to the bodies reaction to sugar and to its ability to produce insulin. In the large it relates also to genetic inheritance of factors that given the right environment will trigger the disease.

Symptoms can include frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger. Wikipedia lists three common types of diabetes as:

* Type 1 diabetes: results from the body's failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin.

* Type 2 diabetes: results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency.

* Gestational diabetes: is when pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during pregnancy. It may precede development of type 2 DM.

Others conclude that diabetes mellitus include congenital diabetes, which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes induced by high doses of glucocorticoids, and several forms of monogenic diabetes. It acknowledges that more than 2% of the population are sufferers.

How often do we see people tucking into food, such as that illustrated, without a thought in the world of what it does to their bodies. Mothers buy donuts that are heavily sugar coated for children, to keep them quiet while shopping, for instance, and they are often packed into lunch boxes and used for snacks at home. Does anyone consider the risk or why children are suffering from obesity and diabetes at an ever increasing younger age?

Mothers are often seen feeding coco-cola drinks to young toddlers who are thirsty and who should be given just plain water. The following from Wikipedia is related to the contents of Coco-Cola: "Published versions say it contains sugar or high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, caffeine, phosphoric acid, coca extract, kola nut extract, lime extract, vanilla and glycerin. . . The basic "cola" taste . . . comes mainly from vanilla and cinnamon; distinctive tastes . . . are the result of trace flavorings such as orange, lime and lemon and spices such as nutmeg. Because cocaine is naturally present in coca leaves, today's Coca-Cola uses "spent," or treated, coca leaves . . . treated by chemical company Stepan . . . Some contend that this process cannot extract all of the cocaine alkaloids at a molecular level '.

Recent reports suggests that fructose, other than what occurs naturally in fruit. This diabetes update cites: "Dr. J. Hallfrisch studied cholesterol and triglyceride levels and found that fructose . . . caused a general increase in both the total serum cholesterol level and the low-density lipoprotein fraction of cholesterol in most subjects. The triglyceride levels also rose significantly, especially in those persons whose blood sugar levels rise higher than normal when they eat sugar. It was concluded that high levels of dietary fructose can produce undesirable changes in blood lipid levels, which are associated with heart disease."

Diabetes is now out of control globally and yet nothing is done to curtail the amount of sugar ingested daily. Whereas we see fat and other foods trotted out as the cause of obesity the amount of fat and sugar combined in this type of food is deadly.

Injecting insulin
Injecting insulin

Day by Day with Diabetes

The Strain, the pain, and the drain of injecting yourself with insulin

My grandmother had diabetes and she would take herself off to her room and inject the insulin into the flesh over her abdomen and to me, a child at the time, she appeared to have no other symptoms. She was a very active woman who looked after several boarders, doing their washing and ironing by hand and running a rather efficient household. Little did I know about the problems she must have faced without burdening others.

Unbeknown to me she would take a sample of blood from her finger and adjust her blood sugar with dietary supplements. In recent years friends with diabetes have a distinct smell on their breath which is distinctly related to their condition. It is the kind of smell that tells yiou they have something seriously wrong with their bodies. The synthetic odour must come from the injected insulin. They carry food to ensure their blood sugar levels stay up in the right region.

Even so I had no idea of all the other problems that diabetes can cause, such as the loss of limbs, blindness, loss of feeling in the feet, kidney disease and so on.

The Australian Diabetes Council's web site notes: "Diabetes is the fastest growing cause of kidney failure. About 30 per cent of people with diabetes will develop kidney disease and it's the leading cause of kidney failure (end stage renal disease when kidneys fail to filter the blood) in western countries. Up to 50 per cent of people receiving treatment for kidney failure in dialysis centres in Australia will have diabetes.

According to the International Diabetes Federation survival rates for people with diabetes when dialysis is needed is about three years on average. But the news is not all bad." According to this article "kidney damage can be delayed or prevented by improving blood glucose control and lowering blood pressure."

But why get diabetes in the first place?

Control Sugar Cravings - Do You Really Know What it is Doing to You?

What Would You Do To Prevent Diabetes? - Are you aware of the danger of diabetes

Most people go through life with their heads in the clouds (or the sand) denying they are at risk of anything. Then they begin to feel tired, the body acts strangely and they seek medical help. The diagnosis hits them like a ton of bricks. If only . . . . .

Are you aware of diabetes and how to prevent it?

Type 2 Diabetes

The sound is low but the illustrations are good

Children are At Risk through Lifestyle

What can you do to change their situation

Children who sit rather than exercise are at extreme risk of obesity and diabetes. In today's world they are more than likely playing video or internet games than football or an outdoor activity like riding their bikes or running around with other children. Parents tend to set the pattern from a very young age when they sit a baby in front of a television set to "keep it quiet and entertained" while they are engaged in something else.

We program kids from babyhood onwards and what we do in those first few years of a child's life will stay with them forever.

Children Living with Diabetes

The Side Effects of Diabetes - Its not just one disease

The loss of the body's ability to produce insulin and control the balance of sugar in the blood is horrendous as many people have found out. It can start from a very young age and it is as devastating for children as for adults.

Should we feed children masses of sugar saturated food - such as cakes, biscuits, coca-cola, chocolate, etc.?

chocolate sweets
chocolate sweets

Sugar Saturated Food

The effects

Adults are responsible for how much sugar children consume. The term "YUM" is grossly misleading to young children. Mothers might be the enemy in this regard as they mostly do the shopping and how many times do we see toddlers in strollers pushing donuts, chips, or some other junk food, down their throats.

One day I was sitting in the food hall at the local shopping center. In one of the junk food shops the man was salting chips. He poured the salt on and then a new batch of chips came out and was poured on the top of the previous batch. This new assistance then salted them. After that the first man returned and poured more salt on. He then proceeded to serve a mother with a toddler in the stroller. I was horrified that this child was being subjected to enough salt to poison her. On top of the chips the mother then bought her a bottle of coca-cola.

This drink is known to contain as much caffeine as three cups of coffee. It is also packed with sugar. Combined these 2 ingredients give consumers a massive high but what does it do to young children?

Very rarely do I see children in these situations being fed fruit or a sandwich when they are hungry. Why? Because it takes effort!

Children fed these foods are usually hyper active and can suffer such things as ADHD or some other psychological problems. Parents, however, tend to ignore the obesity and health threats such food represents.

Ice Cream
Ice Cream

Double Whammy

The side effects of sugar

Sugar was only added to food during the late 16th Century. This followed the discovery of the Americas and the introduction of a lot of exotic plant produce into Europe. Sugar and Chocolate came together and when people realised that putting them together made for a fantastic sweet the rush to get more led to the introduction of many confectionery outlets.

Over the next 450 or so years the world has feasted on the insatiable craving for both sugar and chocolate with deadly results. Add to this mix ice cream, pies, packaged salted foods like chips or doredoes and so on and the intake of such poisons has increased dramatically. Why do I say poisons? Because they result in death, either through cerebral hemorrhages, heart attacks, diabetes, and numerous other diseases one can think of that fit this list.

Blood pressure is related to salt intake and high cholesterol. Both are the result of too much salt and sugar in the diet as well as fat. The latter is in pies, ice cream, confectioneries, and most junk food such as hamburgers, and so on, Yet we support all these industries and credit them with good business practices. I know of people who have left companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken, for example, because of the fat used. That bring up another point - trans fats are now the most used fats in such places. They are the worst for creating obesity and all of its problems.

Obesity is just one more side effect and from the time these foods came onto the plates of the masses the rush to counter their effects was on. The medical world pushed ever harder for solutions and drugs (with their own side effects) were developed. Now there are pills to counter act the effect of pills and many older people especially can be on twenty or thirty such medications a day. The ones making the money are, of course, the drug companies who also feed the doctors who prescribe them.

For sixty or so years the food cravings have been grossly increased by the advertising seen on television with ever more glamorous pics of delightful treats running across the screen. It will tempt people to buy the produce and have it on hand so that when the triggers are fired the mouth is satisfied. It often doesn't matter whether one has a full stomach or not - result is more obesity

Companies that produce junk food and the growers of its ingredients are the big winners while people are the losers. Death, disease and tragedy follows when one's guard is let down to this extent. Of course, children are targeted during children's programs.

Still images from Dreamstime - click here

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© 2010 norma-holt

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    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 3 years ago

      Reading intro module I felt sorry for that old lady! My granny has diabetes but she is fine now because she eats a lot of bitter vegetables!

    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      Informative lens. A woman with whom I worked a few years back had diabetes. She also had a dark spot on one shin; her doctor had told her that if that if she broke the skin on that spot, it would very likely result in the loss of her leg. Wounds are slow to heal, if at all, due to the systemic damage diabetes wreaks, and the longer the wound is there, the more likely it is to become infected - and fighting infections with diabetes is very difficult.

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Excellent lens. I have a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes and so few people understand the daily struggle that they live with. Blessings.

    • OliviaDaughter LM profile image

      OliviaDaughter LM 5 years ago

      My mom was diabetic and it was closely related to her death. Very good information. I know it will help others.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are heavily conditioned by genetic factors. This is why many people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are thin, active, and even athletic people, and also why the vast majority of obese people are not type 2 diabetics. And of course, type 1 diabetes has nothing whatsoever to do with lifestyle, diet, or exercise. Further, increasing evidence now shows that the complications of diabetes are heavily genetically influenced and influenced by autoimmune processes, and are thus not necessarily preventable by blood sugar management. But unfortunately, your obsessive focus on diet and healthy life habits has just perpetuated many cruel and harmful myths about this diease.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Very, very informative - thank you for sharing! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      Back to thank you for featuring my lens on this page

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      A very timely warning for those people who are not yet aware of the health issues of a poor diet

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      This is such a critical topic. Thank you for educating us all. Diabetes is certainly becoming a crisis of epic proportions.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Excellent lens.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Sad isn't it? Wishing people w/diabetes WELL!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Another fantastic lens. I have learned to expect only the best from you. Blessed.

    • oceansky lm profile image

      Lisa Morris 5 years ago

      Hi,

      A great informational lens. Thank-you so much for featuring my Gluten Free and Healthy Living Lens. Take care.

    • profile image

      GenesisLabs 5 years ago

      Very important subject matter. Very well presented.

    • Carmel Aaron profile image

      Carmel Aaron 5 years ago

      Thanks ---this is great material - and I must say it is music to my heart. You have just been blessed with more sprinkling of angel dust - my dear.

      Thumbs - up

      Thanks again...

    • profile image

      huvalbd 5 years ago

      Very good lens. Glad you publish it.

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      thank you for the timely reminders! cheers

    • marckq profile image

      marckq 6 years ago

      The information here is a must-read for many people, thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Norma, this is beyond good...excellent! People perish for lack of knowledge of the truth!

    • profile image

      GabrielaFargasch 6 years ago

      I always enjoy reading your articles, Norma.... Thank you for taking up your time and writing about something so important to all of us......

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Excellent lens you have included everything that one could desire to learn about diabeties. You did an amazing job. Best wishes.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      great lens. Angel blessed and featured on my angel blessed in may lens.

    • profile image

      aishu19 6 years ago

      Thanks so much for featuring my Alfalfa lens. having seen relative suffer the wraths of diabetes, I cannot stress enough on the need to lead a moderatte lifestyle so you can enjoy a healthier one throughout.

    • Wbisbill LM profile image

      Barbara Isbill 6 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      A great lens! Thumbs up! I will lensroll this to my lens on 'diabetes complications.'

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very informative for diabetic patients, there are herbs that can prevent and treat diabetes but unfortunately cannot cure once the patient gets it. Along with the allopathic drugs prescribed by the physician, they can be taken as prescribed by Ayurveda .

      Congrats on a well deserved "Purple star".

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Great lens to raise awareness about this horrible disease that can sometimes be prevented with diet and exercise.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Congrats on the Purple Star! Thank-you for the great lens on the dangers of excess sugar in relation to diabetes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your purple star .. dear, Norma :) This lens is so useful.

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 6 years ago

      My husband is diabetic. I worry a lot!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Great lens. I think I will save the url so the next time I have a purple star to pass on this will be it!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Anything that anyone can do to reduce the incidence of this terrible disease should be done. Part of it must be education and your lens goes a long way towards that.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Diabetes type 1 runs in my family in that my grandmother has developed it on my father's side. I have to say they ate biscuits and a lot of them everyday of their life, but that doesn't put me off biscuits (I love them too much). So as you say it is the sugary foods that act like poison.

    • profile image

      DARdreams 6 years ago

      Diabetes is genetic; if you don't have the genes, you don't get it no matter how poorly you eat. But just because your relatives haven't been diagnosed doesn't mean it's not in your genes, so you can't assume you won't get it.

      Not all type 2 diabetics are/were fat and lazy. Some of us ate what we were told is a healthy diet and developed diabetes anyway. If more people were told that eating fewer carbs keeps your blood sugar down (whether or not you have diabetes), diabetes and its complications wouldn't be the epidemic it is right now.

      If you want to read more about low carb and see the low carb recipes I've dreamed up to share, please visit my lenses.

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

      I've been doing some reading about this topic for the past several months. It seems that the worst of all sugars that is being used in everything purchased is comprised of artificial sweeteners and/or high fructose corn syrup (now approved by the FDA to be labeled as 'corn sugar.') The artificially produced sugars have been wreaking havoc with people, and researchers have been coming forward confirming the problems associated with it. Avoiding all products containing these contaminants is very difficult, as the big food producers put it in everything. This lens is an ace for bringing to light the importance of curtailing sugar to prevent the onset of obesity and sugar diabetes.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 6 years ago

      I am diabetic and I am working to try to reverse the disease. I have changed my diet considerably. Great lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel and lensrolled to my Diabetes page.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 7 years ago

      Lensrolling to http://www.squidoo.com/vegan-diet-for-diabetes and http://www.squidoo.com/books-on-diabetes. My mother had her leg amputated because of diabetes, and there are few in my family tree who have not been touched in one way or another. I think there is a strong genetic component that hasn't yet been fully identified, because while diet does play a part, it isn't always the culprit behind the diagnosis, and some people eat horribly and never develop it at all. Still, I agree that we all need to pay closer attention to what we eat and especially what we are feeding our children. Thumbs up for this lens!

    • flafin profile image

      flafin 7 years ago

      Thank you for this excellent lens. Diabetes is truly a terrible thing and from what I've been told it is often preventable. A man I work with developed it last year. He went from looking healthy and full of life to looking like he is on deaths door step in a matter of months. When I asked him why he had developed diabetes he told me, "I was going home every night and eating a half gallon of ice cream... You can't do that!".

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Lens rolled to my own Diabetes lens.... Thank you for sharing it on Squid U so I could :)

    • profile image

      resabi 7 years ago

      When I was on dialysis, I knew many, many people whose kidney failure was due to diabetes and I witnessed the devastating effects. Scary disease. I have 2 friends who have developed diabetes as adults. One has Type 1. She has always had a healthy lifestyle and it came anyway. She is rigorous about following her regiment. The other has Type 2 and is not doing that well in controlling the disease. If she doesn't, she's at a real risk of progressing to the point of having do do the injections. I recently did a charity lens on Crohn's disease and the proceeds from that are set to go to Juvenile Diabetes research. Thanks for doing this important lens.

    • anmatt lm profile image

      anmatt lm 7 years ago

      Great informative lens. It's great to run into someone else who will tell it like it is about sugar. It's a poison. End of story. I'm going to link this lens to at least one of my halloween candy alternatives lenses I've published. Everyone reading this, please give Halloween Trick or treaters something other than sugar. Let's not poison our children.

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      My mother has type two diabetes. This she controls with meds and diet. She was never one to eat a lot of sweets.

      I see people eating poorly every day and I can't help wondering why. Even my own kids will let the apples rot and complain there are no snacks in the house.

      I think with all things that moderation is the key. Many years ago people only got a sweet treat on special occasions. The rest of the time they ate fresh foods.

      Commercialism is part of the problem. We need to keep getting the message out as you have done so well with this lens.

      Great job! Good luck in the sunshine contest. I'm nominating this one.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      This was really interesting and informative. Thanks for doing it.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Well written, excellent reminder of the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of lifestyle changes to do all you can to prevent diabetes in yourself and/or your family.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Excellent information on diabetes and how to prevent it! Great job.

    • Shibamom LM profile image

      Shibamom LM 7 years ago

      Thanks for this necessary lens. Well done.