Diabetes is a disease wherein the body does not produce or use insulin properly. What is insulin? It is a hormone needed to change starches, sugar, and other food into energy that our bodies need.

Type 1 Diabetes is characterized by the body's inability to produce insulin while Type 2 is a case wherein the body does not use insulin properly.

Diabetes can afflict both the old and the young. In our case, our former househelp, Virginia, had diabetes. She was then probably in her 50s or 60s. There is a 10-year old boy, N., at our park, who is happy with sugar-free ice cream because he too, has diabetes.

From what I have heard about diabetes, some symptoms to look out for would be: frequent urination, extreme feelings of thirst, and sudden weight loss.

In the case of our househelp, she needed to have insulin injections regularly and also needed to see her doctor on a regular basis to check her blood sugar levels. Wounds were troublesome for her as they would take longer to heal. I don't know if there is any proven medical basis for it already but in those days, Virginia would eat a lot of ampalaya (a bitter green vegetable said to have medicinal effects) and each time she would do that while cutting back on her rice, her blood sugar levels would improve. She also had to take medication though. We were also warned by her doctor that should we find it difficult to wake her up in the morning to rush her to the ER and inform the doctors there that she is a diabetic receiving insulin shots. Thankfully though, that occasion never happened.

If you suspect that anyone in your family may have diabetes, please consult your medical doctor immediately. They can help you manage your condition better and ensure that you continue to live life to the fullest.

[By Angelica Viloria | Tuesday, August 7, 2007]

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