All You Need To Know About Diabetes

June 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


With over 2 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, and a further 1 million undiagnosed, this is obviously a serious and rising problem. There is a lot of information around about diabetes, indeed I pass on frequent health News about it, but there is a new book that I think will be extremely helpful for patients and their families and carers.

Diabetes – the essential guide has been written by someone who knows all about it as the author, Sue Marshall, was diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of five. Now 41, she has lived with this condition for more than 35 years so is well qualified to offer advice and understanding on how to deal with the condition.

It is an extremely practical book, containing information about symptoms, diagnosis, types of diabetes and blood testing. It offers information on the types of medication available, and practical advice on how to manage the condition. Special sections on dealing with travelling, being away from home, pregnancy, and children with diabetes are well handled and looked at in detail.

As I found with my own stress book, what people need when dealing with any medical condition is clear, concise and easy to access information — no waffle and no padding. This book certainly delivers that and once you have read through the book and got some understanding about how your diet affects your blood sugar and what you can actually do to handle it successfully you have a practical plan to follow.

Diabetes – the essential guide costs ¬£8.99 from bookshops or direct from the publisher’s website at and Sue Marshall has her own webbsite where she gives information on diabetes health care and related products. You will find it at


Diabetes Updates

With over 2.3 million diabetics in the UK, and a further 750000 people who have the condition but don’t know it, I like to keep you updated and there are two new developments to report this week – both involving everyday food items.

First let’s do the positive and give you yet another reason to eat more fish. A UK study has found that in a study of 517 diabetics those who had fish less than once a week were four times more likely to have albumin in their system, a protein whose presence indicates kidney damage. This is a serious complication of diabetes and the study suggests that eating fish at least twice a week could help protect diabetics from this potential problem. The researchers didn’t single out any particular variety of fish, so help your diabetes, and your heart, by having oily fish like salmon and salt water fish like haddock at least twice a week to get the maximum benefit.

Fish is also of benefit for eye health, so keep reading.

AND A WARNING If you go to work, or play, on an egg then you want to rethink your breakfast options. Over twenty years of research funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute seems to indicate that people who eat eggs every day may substantially increase their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Men who ate seven or more eggs a week were 58% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat any eggs. However, the problem is potentially greater for women as they are 77% more likely to become diabetic if they ate an egg a day. The research was reported online in the magazine Diabetes Care.

A single egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol and adds about 1.5 g of saturated fat to the diet, both of which increase diabetes risk, and the exact risk figures are:

9% for less than one egg a week
9% for one egg a week
18% for two to four eggs a week
46% for five to six eggs a week
58% for seven or more eggs a week

% for less than one egg a week
3% for one egg a week
19% for two to four eggs a week
18% for five to six eggs a week
77% for seven or more a week

This does not mean giving up eggs entirely, they are a beneficial food, but it might be wise to limit your intake if you have any other risk factors for diabetes. These include being overweight, not taking any exercise, and long term use of drugs such as diuretics and steroids as they can impair insulin secretion from the pancreas.

Could diabetics and others benefit from grape skins?

A recently published paper in the science journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism has reported on new research carried out by scientists at the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England, which has found that resveratrol, a compound present naturally in grape skin, can protect against the cellular damage to blood vessels caused by high production of glucose in diabetes.

Patients with diabetes have elevated levels of glucose that circulate in the blood and which cause both micro- and macro- vascular complications by damaging the mitochondria. These are the tiny power plants within cells responsible for generating energy and when they are damaged they can leak electrons and make highly damaging ‘free radicals’. Serious complications can arise when this happens, including kidney disease, heart disease and retinopathy – which if left untreated can lead to blindness.

Resveratrol stops the damage by helping cells make protective enzymes to prevent the leakage of electrons and the production of the toxic ‘free radicals’. By including grapes in your diet, and other sources such as seeds, peanuts and red wine you could be helping prevent vascular damage caused by hyperglycemia in the future.

Other Health Benefits

You know how you take grapes to patients in hospitals? Well if you take them red grapes the resveratrol in the skin has also been shown to help with other health issues. For instance, if you have the flu, then resveratrol has been shown to prevent the continued reproduction of the flu virus if taken within six hours of the first infection. It has been shown to be anticarcinogenic, and there is also growing evidence that it can also protect the heart. It does this in several ways: inhibits platelet aggregation, the proliferation of smooth-muscle cells, and the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. So don’t ask ‘Beulah, peel me a grape’, as Mae West famously said, but insist she keeps the skins on!