AtoZ of Diabetes 2020

Welcome to the first issue of your AtoZ of Diabetes.

This initiative offers the reader a valuable resource. Here we highlight the online Diabetes Focus magazine to a new footprint together with Medipost. This partnership engages a new audience and offers support and education to the challenges that people with diabetes live with daily. We thank Medipost for their vision and assistance with distribution of the printed booklet.

A very big thank you to our loyal advertisers and contributors for their support. You make it all happen.

Kind regards 
The Word for Word Media Team

EDITOR: Laurelle Williams –
DISCLAIMER – PLEASE NOTE:  The views expressed in the AtoZ of Diabetes do not necessarily reflect the policy of Diabetes South Africa nor that of the publishers and their contributors. The information contained in this publication has been approved by Diabetes South Africa. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information is correct, neither Word for Word Media nor Diabetes South Africa, can be held responsible for any errors or omission.


Alcohol and diabetes

Alcohol consumption may place people with diabetes at increased risk for hypoglycaemia, especially if taking insulin or medications that lower blood glucose levels. Education and

Blood glucose

The main sugar that the body makes from the food we eat is known as blood glucose or blood sugar.  Blood glucose is carried through

Carbohydrate counting

A meal management tool for people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who use insulin. The aim of carb counting is to balance the

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)

CVD affects the heart and blood vessels and may cause fatal complications, such as coronary artery disease, leading to heart attack and stroke. Cardiovascular disease

Causes of diabetes

Diabetes causes vary depending on your genetic makeup, family history, ethnicity, health and environmental factors. There is no common diabetes cause that fits every type


The chance of a person living with diabetes developing depression is two to three times higher than that of other people. A 2012 study showed

Diabetic retinopathy

High and fluctuating glucose levels causes changes to the blood vessels that feeds the retina with oxygen and nutrients, which leads to damage to that

Diabetes-related complications

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health complications, such as: Blindness  Heart attacks and strokes Kidney failure Amputations Premature deaths

Dry skin

Diabetes makes you more likely to get dry skin. Skin that’s too dry can crack, itch, and get infected. Therefore, it is important to prevent


Diabetes SA approved products

Any food product which has the Diabetes SA logo on it is safe for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients to consume in the


A medical practitioner qualified to diagnose and treat disorders of the endocrine glands and hormones, which includes diabetes. Reference:


Regular exercise helps your body lower blood glucose levels, reduces insulin resistance, and promotes weight loss, reduces stress and enhances overall fitness and enjoyment of life. Therefore,


Ramadan fasting This is the month in the Islamic calendar wherein Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.  For people living with

Flu vaccine

People living with diabetes are considered a high-risk group when contracting flu. This means they may develop complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma flare-ups, heart

Foot care

Diabetic foot ulcers are common in people with diabetes. The most common causes of diabetic foot ulcers are nerve damage, poor blood supply, poor footwear,

Glucose monitoring

Blood glucose testing is an important part of diabetes care. This can be done with a portable electronic device, called a blood glucose meter, using

HbA1c test

The haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test gives a percent average level of blood glucose over the past three months. It is also used to diagnose diabetes. People with


This is the medical term for high blood glucose (over 14mmol/L). Continued high glucose levels can lead to serious complications, diabetes ketoacidosis, coma, and premature


This is the medical term for low blood glucose (below 4mmol/L) and is an emergency. If untreated, it can lead to coma and premature death.

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood.


Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body to use glucose from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy


The accumulation of insulin in the bloodstream elevates androgen levels; the resulting hormone imbalance will negatively affect ovulation. When women do not ovulate, they may

Kidney disease

Kidney disease is much more common in people with diabetes than in those without diabetes. Also known as diabetic nephropathy, kidney disease is caused by


Ketones are chemicals that the body releases when it breaks down fat to use for energy. The body does this when it doesn’t have enough


Medication to treat diabetes can be certain tablets or insulin, or both. They help to lower the glucose levels in your blood. Your prescription may

Medipost Medication delivery

Medipost Pharmacy is South Africa’s largest national courier pharmacy. We strive to make adherence to prescribed chronic treatment a top priority as this is vital to the


Along with medication, nutrition is integral for blood glucose control. For Type 1 diabetes, a consistent amount of carbohydrates at set times throughout the day

Nerve disease

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves throughout the body when blood glucose and blood pressure are too high. This is called diabetic neuropathy and

Oral health

People with diabetes have an increased risk of inflammation of the gums (periodontitis) if blood glucose is not properly managed. Periodontitis is a major cause of tooth

Pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia. This can cause infection in the respiratory tract i.e. lung, sinus or ears. In vulnerable people,

Prescribed Minimum Benefits

Prescribed minimum benefits (PMB) is a set of defined benefits to ensure that all medical scheme members have access to certain minimum health services, regardless


People living with diabetes are more likely to use supplements than those without the disease. A good vitamin and mineral supplement can ensure that vitamins


Sweeteners are sugar substitutes that  are added to food and provide a sweet taste like that of normal conventional sugar while containing significantly less food


People with diabetes are 1,5 times more likely to have a stroke than people without diabetes.  A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when

Skin complications

Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the skin. Such problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes. Luckily, most skin conditions


Most commonly, women who have diabetes will experience a lower sex drive compared to women without the condition. This can be for several reasons: Blood


If you have diabetes or a child who has diabetes, travelling always takes planning and preparation. Ensure you wear a medical alert bracelet. Keep contact

Urological problems

People with diabetes may experience bladder problems, such as overactive bladder, poor control of sphincter muscles that surround the urethra, urine retention, and urinary tract infections.


The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee did not recommend the use of multi-vitamins for the general healthy population. But there was an indication for specific

Wound care

When a person has diabetes, wounds can take longer to heal, which can increase the risk of infections and other complications developing, such as amputations.


Type 1 diabetes often occurs during childhood, adolescence and teen years, but can start at any time. Type 2 diabetes is less common in children