Diabetes- What Is Diabetes
Let’s start at the beginning. Blood sugar levels is one of many important criteria that the body needs to be optimal to function properly. Carbohydrate foods provide our body with the main energy source to keep us going. These foods include bread, cereal, pasta, rice, fruit, dairy products and starchy vegetables. Our body break these foods down into glucose. Some glucose are use by the brain to help with its functions. Most of the glucose are use for energy by the body and the rest are stored in the liver for later use.
In order for the body to use glucose, insulin is required. Insulin is a hormone produced by cells’ in the pancreas. This insulin works like a key of a door to the cells’. The insulin opens the cells’ to allow glucose from the blood stream into the cells’. If the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin it produces, glucose build up in the bloodstream and diabetes develops.
The Three Main Types Of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes usually affects people under the age of 30 years, but can occur at any age. In type 1 diabetes the Beta cells’ of the pancreas have been injured or attacked by the body’s own immune system. Because, of the damage to the cells’ they die or cannot produce the required insulin for the body. To treat type 1 diabetes, insulin is used in combination with a healthy eating plan, enough exercises and monitoring of blood sugar levels.
Gestational Diabetes is a type that occurs in some women during pregnancy. Hormones that makes the body cells’ more resistant to insulin are produce by the pancreas during pregnancy. Because, off the cells’ resistance to insulin the blood sugar levels rises. It can be treated by healthy eating, exercise, blood sugar monitoring and in some cases’ insulin therapy. In most of the cases’ blood sugar levels return to normal after delivery and gestational diabetes disappears. However, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes stay high, but by maintaining a healthy body weight after delivery can reduce the risk.
Type 2 Diabetes is always associated with older people but there is now a huge increase of this type of diabetes in children. The main cause for development of this type of diabetes is overweight. The symptoms are usually very gradual and this is the reason why so many people do not get diagnosed. Recommended treatment for type 2 diabetes is to control the blood sugar levels through healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, medication and blood sugar monitoring. In some cases different type of medication may be needed and if sufficient control cannot be achieved, insulin may be required.
The Signs Or Symptoms Of Diabetes
- Frequent urination – The body tries to get rid of extra glucose through the kidneys.
- Increased thirst – Because of the frequent urination the body tries to replace the lost fluids.
- Increased hunger – The body feels starved because the glucose in the bloodstream cannot enter the cells.
- Tired and sleepy – Energy not getting absorb in the cells causing the body to feel drained of energy.
- Weight loss – Due to fluid loss and the body using fat for energy.
- Blurred vision – Glucose build up in the eyes.
- Slow healing – High glucose levels increases risk for infection and wounds heals very slow.
These symptoms can be very mild or severe and this is the reason many people living with diabetes don’t know they have it. Detection through screening is a must.
Managing Your Diabetes
By monitoring your sugar levels regularly will put you in charge of your condition. You will have to check your sugar levels a few times a week or even daily. Monitoring is an only way to make sure your blood sugar levels remain within your target range. Start with a healthy eating plan and identify food that has the greatest impact on blood sugar. By now, you will know that Carbohydrate food has the greatest impact on blood sugar. Carbs are broken down into glucose, and if you eat too much of them, your blood sugar level may rise. Teach yourself to do carb counting. It sounds complicated but is very easy to do if you adhere to a few rules.
- Rule 1 – If the food has a label, use it to determine the nutritional facts. Look at the serving size and the total carbohydrate. Also, check dietary fiber and sugar content.
- Rule 2 – Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that is not digested and therefore does not raise the blood glucose like sugar does. If, food has more than 5grams of fiber you can subtract the fiber from the total amount of carbohydrate.
- Rule 3 – Sugar alcohol has a reduced effect on blood sugar and has fewer calories than sugar and is often used as a sweetener in foods. Because of this reducing effect you can subtract half of the amount of alcohol sugar from the total carbohydrate.
- Rule 4 – If no label is available use measuring tools. Use cups, spoons or food scales to help determine the amount of carbohydrate. Keep in mind that food should be measured after cooking. If, you want to lose weight try to keep your calorie intake low. Try to consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol, less than 20g of saturated fat and less than 2400mg of sodium per day to maintain good heart health. Fiber makes you feel satisfied for a longer time after meals and has minimal effect on blood sugar. Try to consume 20 – 30 grams of fiber each day. Vitamins and minerals are healthy compounds that play an important role in many body processes and is vital to get adequate amount.
- Rule 5 – Exercise has many health benefits but is difficult to get started. There in no need for gyms and expensive equipment, just a little of extra effort.
Let’s Start Exercising
When starting to exercise, the activity should be done at a moderate intensity. Think of activities you enjoy the most and create a program that includes these activities. If you take medication that lower blood sugar levels, remember to check your levels before and after physical activity and carry a source of quick action glucose with you in case of low blood sugar. Keep yourself well hydrated.
Set short time goals but be realistic. Include in the goals what you want to achieve and how. Get motivated! Find support. Exercise with a friend or get a group together and help each other to reach their goals.
Invest in a comfortable pair of shoes that is appropriate for the type of exercise you will be doing. Wear cotton socks as they absorb sweat better. Wear comfortable clothing as well.
If you want to increase the intensity of the exercise or want to include light weights in the training, consult your doctor first. Always check your feet after physical training
Benefits Of Exercise
- Lowers blood sugar during and after exercise.
- Help with weight loss and maintaining of weight.
- Improve blood circulation and lower risk of heart diseases.
- Improve cholesterol levels.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Reduce stress levels.
- Increase energy levels
Blood Sugar Monitoring
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is the most accurate way for you to determine the effectiveness of your lifestyle changes and the medication you use for diabetes control. Monitoring provides you the ability to identify what is causing the problem to control your blood sugar and to correct it.
Important Tips On Monitoring
- Always wash your hands in warm water before checking your blood sugar.
- Make sure of the date on your test strips – not expired.
- Always use the side of your fingers and remember to use different fingers.
- If your blood sugar is very high or low do not use alternate sites for testing because finger check gives you the most accurate result.
- Consult with your doctor for best times to check your blood sugar levels.
- If you’re monitoring device do not keep record of your results, you have to keep a log book. This will help to identify patterns in your levels and to make the required changes to keep your sugar levels back in the target range.
- Take your device or records for 5 to 7 days with when visiting your doctor to help to determine your diabetes management needs.
- Never leave your meter or test strips in a hot car. Always store in a cool dry place.
Factors That Can Influence Your Blood Sugar Levels
- Poor testing technique – Using expired test strips. Not washing your hands before testing or not calibrating the meter.
- Time of last meal. Quantity or type of food consumed.
- Alcohol can influence your blood sugar levels, depending on the type of alcohol or mixer it may come with.
- Medication such as steroids, can increase your blood sugar.
- Illness like colds or flu can increase your blood sugar levels due to the stress on the body and also the medication used to relieve symptoms.
- Both physical and emotional stress can increase your blood sugar level.
Conclusion – Word Of Warning
Diabetes increases your chances of having coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Worldwide statistics show that heart disease and stroke account for approximately 65% of deaths in people with diabetes.
You can protect yourself by making just a few lifestyle changes