Diabetes is where the body loses control of the use of glucose. Extra glucose is found in the urine and blood which can be detected by simple tests at your pharmacy or doctor's. If diabetes is left untreated then it can start to affect organs in the body such as the kidneys, eyes and heart therefore it is important to recognise if you are at risk of having the condition. There are 2 types of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 generally affects people under 40and Type 2 over 40 and the older you are, the greater the risk.
So what are the risk factors?
1) Do you have a close relative who has diabetes? The closer the relative, the greater is the risk.
2) Have you an ethnic background such as Asian or African-Caribbean? If so you have a four to five-fold increased risk of having the disease.
3) Are you overweight for your height? One way of checking is to measure your waist. For women increased risk starts at 31.5". For Asian men it is 35"and for white and black men it is 37".
4) Are you pregnant? Some women have what's called a 'gestational diabetes'
So what are the symptoms of diabetes?
You feel thirsty all the time and keep passing urine. You feel tired and can start losing weight. Women can develop thrush and itching in the genital area and some people experience blurring of their vision.
If you think you are at risk or have any of the symptoms then pop into your pharmacy. The pharmacist will assess whether you should go to your doctor for further tests.
Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become more porous (thinner) and weaker. This means that if you fall you could break your bones and as you become older, the healing process becomes much more difficult.
It mainly affects women who have reached the menopause but if you are taking e.g. steroids or have an overactive thyroid or have rheumatoid arthritis then the condition can be seen in both men and women.
It is diagnosed by a technique known as a DEXA scan. This is a mild Xray which measures bone density and can tell you if you are at risk. If you have had a fracture ( a broken bone) and you are over 50 or have any of the above conditions then your doctor may send you for this test. If the test shows you are at risk of osteoporosis or have the condition then you will be prescribed a medicine to strengthen the bone and also calcium and vitamin D tablets.
To prevent osteoporosis you should have regular weight bearing exercise . That can be walking, jogging or dancing. Your diet should contain lots of calcium from foods such as sardines, green leafy vegetables and dairy products.