Happy November!

November celebrates Diabetes Awareness! So that is what we will be doing here at Fettle ALL. MONTH. LONG! Get ready to learn everything about diabetes! We are here for you! Oh, and PS all of our meal kits here at Fettle are approved for people at risk of diabetes or currently managing their diabetes 😊 

For the first blog this month I am going to talk all about the basics of diabetes, so we all have a clear understanding of what it is, the different types, risk factors, symptoms, treatment and management as well as prevention and much more! Read on!

Current Stats in the World (World Health Organization)

  • The number of people with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
  • The global prevalence of diabetes* among adults over 18 years of age rose from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014 (1).
  • Between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% increase in premature mortality from diabetes.
  • Diabetes prevalence has been rising more rapidly in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
  • In 2016, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012.
  • Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years. WHO estimates that diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016.

Current Stats in Kenya (World Health Organization)

  • Half a million people are living with Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and 40% were unaware of their condition.
  • Almost half of hospital admissions are related to chronic diseases and 55% of deaths in Kenya are due to Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) thus greater risk for COVID-19 complications.
  • Rates of NCDs are expected to double by 2030, and they continue to rise each year on the list of the main reasons Kenyans are dying.
  • People with NCDs die younger in Kenya than higher income countries. 

What is a diabetes?
Diabetes Mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.

The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. But, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.

Types of Diabetes 

Type 1 diabetes: the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the carbohydrates you eat into blood sugar and uses it for energy—and insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body, so they can be utilized for energy. 

Type 2 diabetes: is the most common form of diabetes. It is when the body isn’t making enough insulin, or the body has reduced insulin sensitivity and therefore is insulin resistant. Basically the insulin isn’t working as it should.

Gestational diabetes: Sometimes during pregnancy, the hormones released by the placenta can block the action of the mother’s insulin to her body and it causes a problem called insulin resistance. This insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother’s body to use insulin. It doesn’t mean that you had diabetes before you conceived or that you will have diabetes after you give birth. 

Risk factors

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes
  • Family history.
  • Environmental factors.
  • The presence of damaging immune system cells (autoantibodies).
  • Geography. Certain countries, such as Finland and Sweden, have higher rates of type 1 diabetes.
Risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
  • Weight. The more body fat percentage you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Inactivity. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Family history.
  • Race or ethnicity. Although it’s unclear why, certain people — including Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian American people — are at higher risk.
  • Age. Your risk increases as you get older. 
  • Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you’re also at risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. 
  • High blood pressure. 
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. 
Risk factors for gestational diabetes
  • Age. Women older than age 25 are at increased risk.
  • Family or personal history. 
  • Weight. Being overweight before pregnancy increases your risk.
  • Race. For reasons that aren’t clear, women who are black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a by-product of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough insulin available)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections

Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it’s more common in people older than 40.


Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, frequent blood sugar checks, and carbohydrate counting.

Treatment for type 2 diabetes primarily involves lifestyle changes such as increasing activity, implementing a carb-controlled diet, monitoring of your blood sugar, along with diabetes medications, insulin or both.

  • Eat healthy foods- which I will discuss in great detail the rest of the month.
  • Get more physical activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. 
  • Lose excess weight. If you’re overweight, losing even 7 percent of your body weight —can reduce the risk of diabetes.
    • Don’t try to lose weight during pregnancy, however. Talk to your doctor about how much weight is healthy for you to gain during pregnancy.
  • Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

I hope this has empowered you with a bit more information about diabetes and the different types as well as what is your control and what is out of your control. Let’s focus on what we can control! 

Be sure to follow us this month and continue to read the forthcoming blogs as they will focus on what is in our control and how we can strive to prevent and/or treat diabetes, so we can be feeling our best in order to live a normal and fulfilled life! 

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