Quality health cover that meets your needs doesn’t need to be complicated or too expensive. We offer you great cover, easy claims, and above all we tell it like it is – Affinity Health

To find out more, give us a call today!

One of our qualified and friendly agents will be happy to assist you.

Call Center:

0861 11 00 33


086 607 9419

General Enquiries:


Find a Doctor/Dentist

or Dentist


Where can you go?


Near me

The Official National Department of Health COVID-19 Support Service: 060 012 3456 (WhatsApp)

Find a Doctor/Dentist

Near me


Where can you go?


Near me


Your guide to diabetes

Diabetes, one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide continues to be a silent killer due to many of its sufferers remaining unaware that they are living with the condition. What is diabetes, who does it affect and how do you identify it? These are all the questions you need to know the answers to in order to identify this long-term health condition.

Diabetes, which is often referred to as diabetes mellitus is a condition which affects the way the body processes sugar. This inability to control the levels of glucose in the blood causes the levels of blood glucose to become too high. This happens either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin.

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.


Type 1 diabetes

In Type 1 diabetes the pancreas produces very little or no insulin, which is needed by the body as it plays a huge role in energy levels. Insulin also helps keep your blood sugar level from getting too high or too low.

This type of diabetes cannot be attributed to a single factor but could be caused by some viruses or it could also be genetic. It is important to note that while Type 1 diabetes usually appears in childhood or teenage years it can also strike in adulthood. Symptoms to look out for include increased thirst, frequent urination, bed wetting in children who do not have a history of wetting their bed, blurred vision, weight loss, mood swings, tiredness, weakness and extreme hunger.


Type 2 diabetes

This is the most common type. Approximately 85-90% of diabetic patients are diagnosed with this type of diabetes, and many people with this type of diabetes remain undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes means that blood glucose can no longer be regulated. This is because the cells of the body become resistant to insulin. This means that your body now requires more and more insulin to move sugar into the cells, which leads to too much sugar staying in the blood. Over time, due to the cells requiring an increased amount of insulin, the pancreas is unable to keep up and begins to fail.

Type 2 diabetes develops over time and can be caused by being overweight, a lack of exercise, stress, genetics and artificial sweeteners. Signs to look out for can include, but are not limited to frequent urination, dark skin under armpits, excessive thirst, blurry vision and weight gain.


Testing for diabetes

Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test

This test is the most reliable, especially if conducted first thing in the morning. It can detect if you have a level of 126 Mg/dL or above. If that is the case on two or more tests conducted on different days it means that you have diabetes. The test can also detect if your fasting glucose levels are between 100 to 125, which means that you are most likely to develop Type 2 diabetes but do not have it yet.


Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

This test is better at predicting if you have prediabetes (do not yet have diabetes but well on the way to having it). This test requires you to fast for 8 hours prior to taking the test. You are then required to have a test conducted 2 hours after having a sweet drink containing 75 grams of glucose. The problem with this test is the person must be in good health and should not be taking any medication that could affect the blood glucose.


Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test

This test indicates your average blood sugar levels for the past three months. It also measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to haemoglobin which is the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. This sort of test is generally used to see how blood sugar levels are controlled in patients who have already been diagnosed.


Random Plasma Glucose Test

This test allows a blood sample to be taken at random times. Regardless of when you last ate, a random blood sugar level of 200 Mg/dL or higher suggests diabetes, especially when coupled with any of the signs and symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent urination and extreme thirst.

Your general practitioner will be able to conduct these tests and come to a diagnosis. He or she may continue to treat your diabetes or may refer you to a doctor who specialises in hormonal disorders (endocrinologist).


Treating diabetes

Treatment for type 1 diabetes will include an injection of insulin at intervals throughout the day, this allows the body to control blood glucose levels. Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes a diet and lifestyle change meaning eating less sugary food as well as food high in carbohydrates.



Type 1 diabetes, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20353011

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms, Signs, Diet, and Treatment, https://www.medicinenet.com/type_2_diabetes/article.htm

About diabetes, https://www.diabetessa.org.za/about-diabetes/

The importance of insulin, https://www.nutrihand.com/Nutrihand/showHealthCenterArticle.do?article=Medical%2F20080105.The+importance+of+insulin

What is insulin, https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-1-diabetes/what-insulin

Type 2 Diabetes: The basics, https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes#1

Diagnosis for diabetes, https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/diagnosis-diabetes#1

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

If you would like to leave a comment


Get A Free Quote