Diabetes is one of the top five killers in South Africa. Over three million South Africans suffer from the disease, and it's on the rise.
The disease needs to be caught early to prevent it from becoming a "life sentence", yet many people are unaware that they have diabetes because the symptoms can seem harmless and normal.
Pre diabetes is a condition where, although you experience no physical symptoms, you are predisposed to having diabetes because of the following risk factors:
- Over 45 years of age
- Diabetes during a previous pregnancy
- Excess body weight (especially around the waist)
- Family history of diabetes
- Given birth to a baby weighing more than 4 kilograms
- HDL cholesterol under 35
- High blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat molecule (250 mg/dL or more)
- High blood pressure (greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg)
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet.
To be able to detect if you have diabetes, a blood test is taken, processed and correlated with the different risk factors. An elevated glucose level does not necessarily mean that you have diabetes, but a re-test is needed to make sure.
Type 1 diabetes symptoms
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme weakness and fatigue
- Urinating at night (nocturnal enuresis)
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Heavy or laboured breathing
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Fruity odour on the breath
- Blurry vision.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms
- Blurry vision
- Cuts or sores that are slow to heal
- Itchy skin, yeast infections
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Need to urinate often
- Leg pain.
Everyone over 45 should have their blood glucose checked at least every three years. Regular testing of random blood glucose should begin at a younger age, and be performed more often if you are at higher risk for diabetes.
Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to discuss diabetes. Call us on 0861872862 or email us at