Diabetes Mellitus is a disease which impairs your body of processing glucose, commonly known as blood sugar. While some believe that diabetes is not a serious issue, it is in reality a chronic condition that affects the quality of life in later years.
There are three major types of diabetes which affect the body differently: Type 1 Diabetes where the body is unable to produce insulin which is a hormone that helps the body to use blood glucose as fuel; Type 2 Diabetes where the body produces insulin but the cells are unable to absorb that insulin effectively and; Gestational Diabetes which occurs in women during pregnancy where body becomes less responsive to insulin. While gestational diabetes resolves generally after giving birth, the other types are irreversible once they develop fully and are bound to have an effect on the body for lifetime.
These complications include:
- Heart Diseases
- Eyesight Problems
- Kidney Failure
- Dental Problems
- Less Effective Immunity
- Erectile Dysfunction
Reversing Diabetes is not possible once the condition has fully developed, however, managing it can be fairly easy with a few lifestyle changes. With a healthy and active lifestyle you can control the life threatening effects of this disease to a great level so it does not affect your quality of life.
The two main things for diabetics to keep in mind are carbohydrates and sugar. Talk to your doctor about your diet. Make a list of foods that you can take and foods that you have to avoid strictly. Eating healthy is crucial for diabetics as whatever you eat directly affects your blood sugar. Take lean meats that are devoid of fat. Green vegetables are a must. Pay special attention before eating fruits. Most fruits contain fructose that is also a type of sugar which can create dire complications for diabetics. Make sure you read up about their constituents before consuming any of these items.
Saturated fats and fatty acids in packaged foods are strictly off limits. For your sweet tooth, you can take refuge in dark chocolate which contains 70-80% cocoa but in moderation. There are special sugar free protein bars available for diabetics that will satisfy your urges. Also keep away from dairy products rich in fat content.
Control Your Weight
Most Type 2 diabetics are overweight. It’s necessary for diabetes patients to keep a check on their weight to avoid further complications. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) and if your BMI is more than 25, consult your doctor right away on what changes you need to make to lose weight. Take a good diet along with exercise and you should see results slowly and gradually. As you lose weight, you will feel the overall change in your body.
Nothing can help your body more than a healthy diet and exercise in diabetes. By exercise we don’t mean you have to train hard at the gym. Any kind of physical activity will suffice. From daily brisk walks, bike rides to swimming, there are plenty of options you can turn to. Your aim should be at sweating and breathing harder than usual days. The more your body gets worked up, the more it helps manage your blood sugar and body weight.
Watch Your Addictions
Living in the fast lane, it’s almost natural to fall prey to addictions like that of alcohol and smoking. But with a diabetic condition these may not be the best habits for you to harbor. Alcohol can be consumed in diabetes however, moderation is key. Alcohol can directly affect your blood sugar causing it to go high or low. According to studies, alcohol should be limited to one drink for diabetic women and two drinks per day for men.
Cocktails with added sugar are strictly off limits. Beer, wine and distilled spirits are the options you should stick to. Also make sure that whatever you do, never consume alcohol on an empty stomach. Always take it with food as alcohol can interfere with diabetic medications and insulin. Additionally, also make sure to check your blood glucose before and after alcohol consumption.
While alcohol is acceptable in moderation, smoking should be stopped altogether. Smoking can make way for severe complications like kidney diseases, strokes, nerve damage, eye impairments and foot problems. Smoking can also kill your stamina making it difficult for you to exercise.
Kick Out Stress
There is nothing more harmful in your condition than stress. Stress can hike up your blood sugar drastically as the body releases a threat response when you are stressed. Constant stress can trigger a surge in blood sugar making it difficult for the body to control it. Practice meditation and mindfulness to combat stress as it will not only control your blood sugar but also help prevent diabetes complications like strokes and heart diseases.
Most diabetics give up on the habit of seeing doctors after a certain point. Prepare a checkup schedule to monitor your overall health. Make it a point to see your doctor at least twice a year to check out your other health statistics like cholesterol, blood pressure and average blood sugar. Diabetics generally experience foot problems so it’s best to get a doctor’s word on foot and nerve damage. Vision impairments are also common in diabetes so do get eye checkups once a year to prevent any problems lurking around.
At the end of the day, what you need to do is treat your body with utmost care and precaution. The better you take care of it, the more it will take care of you.