Long, Healthy Life with Diabetes is Possible, says Elderly Australian Woman

Is there life after diabetes?  An Australian woman called Margaret Burge is living proof that there is, and that it can be long and fulfilled if you stick to the rules and take care of yourself.  Margaret was diagnosed 62 years ago when she was a young woman with two small children, but she has lived a long life with no major complications.

This brave and sensible lady got on with her life after her diagnosis and has stayed healthy and enjoyed herself.  She sends a message to diabetics everywhere that it is possible to enjoy a long life with the condition if you manage your symptoms properly.

Mrs Burge, fromDeer Park, Brimbank,Melbourne, was diagnosed after feeling unaccountably tired.  There was no diabetes in her family history at that point, and she was very upset to discover she had the disease.  But she cheerfully carried on bringing up her children, thankful she had completed her family before she developed the disease.  She was recently presented with the Kellion Victory Medal, which is named for a Sydney man who set up a foundation for diabetes research after his son died from the disease.

Figures released recently show Brimbank, with 11,793, hasMelbourne’s highest number of diabetics.  Diabetes rates have tripled in the area in the last ten years, with around 15 new diagnoses every week.

Margaret Burge says her secret to success is simply following medical advice, taking her medication every day and carefully following a healthy lifestyle with a good diet.

Diabetes type 2 is associated with poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity, all of which contribute to the failing ability of the body to process sugar and starch from the food.  Whether or not the diabetic person is producing enough insulin, the body’s cells become unable to respond to the message given through the secretion of insulin and fail to take up sugars from the bloodstream.  The resulting high levels of sugar in the blood slowly damage the organs and systems of the body, resulting in complications like heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, kidney failure, eye damage and nerve damage which can lead to deformity, gangrene and ultimately amputation.  Scientists have theorized that the constant spiking of sugar levels in the blood, followed by the insulin spiking in response, “wears out” the body’s ability to react properly.

Research has left no doubt that an unhealthy diet that includes a lot of processed foods, sugar, fats and trans fats contributes in no small way to the disease.  If this kind of diet is continued after diabetes has been diagnosed, the patient is heading for serious health complications.

However, a diabetic who eats at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, stays away from too much sugar and starch, and avoids saturated fats, will stay healthier.  Fruit is important because its sweetness will satisfy cravings for cakes and cookies, while it also delivers vitamins and fiber and helps to fill the stomach without adding too many calories.

Losing weight is one of the most important things a diabetic can do, and if a good amount of weight is lost the diabetic symptoms may reduce dramatically.  Exercise, also recommended for diabetics, will help with this.

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