What is a dietary need

This booklet is a guide for people who have dietary requirements, especially those who suffer with diabetes, crohn’s disease, and coronary heart problems. Many people have specific dietary requirements at some stage in their lives, so you are not alone. This booklet is designed to provide information on dietary requirements for specific illnesses and also to see how easy it is for someone with a dietary need to eat healthily. The need for such a publication is vital, as a preventative treatment is far better than a cure. This booklet is to provide knowledge and understanding regarding a dietary need and is not a quick guide to losing weight fast.

Why diet is essential

Diet is an essential part of life, without it we would not sustain life and die. From the day that we are born we start to receive nutrients and vitamins from our foods, which enabled us to grow and develop into adults.

Over the last few decades our lifestyles have changed, but the food we consume remains the same. About half of the UK population is overweight.

I believe that this is partly due to a high intake of inappropriate foods and inactive lifestyle. This combination has caused a high ratio of obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, and other serious problems, which continue to increase. These people who suffer from these diseases are high risk and the need to change their lifestyles especially their diets, which is vital.

What is a dietary need?

Dietary needs are extremely common all over the world. They sometimes can be fatal and others become an incurable problem. A dietary need is basically when a person’s body does not function as an average one. A person needs to make certain changes in their lifestyle, especially what they eat to stay fit and healthy.

There are many diseases and conditions, which require a dietary change. The three main ones in society today are: –

1) Coronary heart diseases- including High Blood pressure, High cholesterol levels

2) Crohn’s disease

3) Diabetes

As a health care assistant working in a primary care setting, I have witnessed an increase in the amount of patients being diagnosed with the above medical conditions. After being diagnosed with a medical illness, the doctor usually advises the patient to make some alterations to their lifestyles, one being a change in their diet. They are often referred to a state registered dietician who provides advice and support on what foods to buy, and how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Many people start off with good intentions at first, and take on their new role of maintaining their health, but as time goes by they begin to fall into their old eating habits, hence gaining weight and becoming seriously ill.

Throughout this booklet I am going to concentrate on the disease of diabetes, but also include a little on other diseases where a dietary change is necessary. Diabetes is a common dysfunction in the body, which cannot produce a hormone called insulin. This is responsible for regulating the sugar concentrations within the blood. When someone is diagnosed with diabetes the need to make a change to his or her diet and eat appropriately is vital!

Types of nutritional diseases

What is Diabetes?

It has been estimated that 1.4 million people in the UK are known to have diabetes mellitus (Which comes from the Latin word meaning), “Sweetened with honey.” Diabetes is a chronic progressive disease in which the amount of sugar (Glucose) within the blood becomes too high. This complication occurs when the pancreas fails to secrete none or not enough of the hormone known as insulin. This hormone is responsible for regulating blood sugar and helping it enter our body cells where it is converted into energy.

There are two types of diabetes: –

* Type I – diabetes, also known as insulin dependant diabetes

* Type II – diabetes, also known as non- insulin dependant diabetes.

Type I – This type of diabetes develops when the insulin producing cells within the pancreas are destroyed. The actual causes of this are unknown, but recent research by Diabetes UK, suggests that it may be due to a virus or serious infections. Any one can get this type, but it is more prevalent in adolescents. Insulin injections are necessary to replace the absence of the body’s own insulin.

Type II – This type affects over three quarters of the population. It appears to be more prevalent in people aged between 40 and 75. The main causes of this type is that the body no longer responses to the insulin produced or that it does not produce enough to regulate sugar concentrations. According to Diabetes UK and other professionals, people who are diagnosed with type II are moderately overweight .The treatment for this type is a combination of Diet control, weight reduction, and exercise.

What is Crohn’s disease?

This disease is where the small intestine, called the ileum, becomes inflamed causing pain and swelling. This inflammation can make the intestines empty frequently, hence resulting diarrhoea. Crohn’s disease affects men and women equally and can be genetic.

The small intestine is the place where all the nutrients from the foods we eat are absorbed into the bloodstream. People with Crohn’s disease can suffer from malnutrition, because vital nutrients cannot be absorbed.

It is usually recommended by a dietician, that nutritional supplement, like high calorie liquid formulas are taken as part of their diet.

What is coronary Heart Disease?

This is the narrowing of the coronary arteries that feed the heart with oxygen. Like any muscle in the body, the heart needs a constant supply of Oxygen and nutrients, which are carried to it by the blood in these coronary arteries. When the arteries become narrowed or clogged by cholesterol or fat deposits this starves the heart of oxygen, a process called arteriosclerosis. This happens over many years of unhealthy eating or can be passed from one generation to the next; the result is coronary heart disease (CHD). Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, E.g. too much present in your diet, the excess is deposited in the arteries, which eventually builds up and stops the blood flow. There are usually no symptoms of this happening only when a major blockage occurs and the result a heart attack!

In each disease described above, a change in your diet is very important in maintaining good health. By changing the things you eat, and taking regular exercise, you can reduce your risks of these diseases.

How easy is it for someone with a dietary need to eat appropriate foods?

Over the past few years, the amount of fast food outlets and restaurants throughout the country has doubled. I do believe that this has contributed to the fact that the nation has becomes unhealthy.

Supermarkets and similar shops do not help us in any way. Have you ever noticed that when you walk into these places sweets and cakes are always there to greet you? Do you know that they actually employ a team of psychologists to plan were food should be displayed.

The temptation for some of us is too much and therefore self-indulgence takes over. Throughout our lives we really don’t think about what we eat and how much we eat until something happens like a heart attack or diabetes occurs.

Many people do not understand nutritional values of food and if it says “Low Fat,” they go with it. It is very difficult to change someone’s routine of eating, as they have developed their own eating patterns and habits. Motivating people to change is vital if we are going to improve our health. A lot of publicity is given to diet. The food industry is making a fortune out of low-fat or no-fat alternatives to high-fat foods.

In supermarkets and shops there is a wide variety of foods and drinks. Ready made meals have revolutionised our lives, providing quicker and convenient meals, which fit into our busy lifestyles. However some of these dishes are higher in fat and are more expensive than foods prepared at home. Accessibility and availability has never been easier, products, which were once seasonal, can now be bought throughout the year.

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