Understanding & Tackling Diabetes – Expert Tips on Diabetes Management

Diabetes mellitus (or simply diabetes) is a chronic health condition that is widespread amongst 45+ year-olds across the globe. The condition essentially means that the blood sugar (or blood glucose) levels have shot up because your body fails to respond to (or produce) insulin. Insulin is the all-important hormone that lets blood glucose to enter the cells so it can be used for energy. India is Called the ‘Diabetes Capital of the World’ According to WHO (World Health Organization) and the IDF (International Diabetes Federation), India is a world leader when it comes to the number of people who suffer from the disease. From 41 million a decade ago, the epidemic is expected to affect a whopping 70 million Indians in the next seven years. Whether it boils down to a lack of awareness about the condition, eating habits or lifestyle choices (or a combination of these factors), there is no arguing the fact that people don’t do enough to ensure that they keep the risk of diabetes to a bare minimum. Understanding Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 It is common knowledge that diabetes affects the older population; however, that isn’t necessarily always the case.

  1. Type 1 diabetes (where the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin to maintain blood sugar levels) affects five percent of diabetes sufferers and usually strikes at a very young age.
  2. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is rampant amongst senior citizens and is characterized by hyperglycemia (superfluous blood glucose levels) and insulin resistance.

Those who have crossed 45 years of age are at a high risk of diabetes and prediabetes (pre-diagnosis of diabetes, where the blood sugar levels are higher than what is considered normal). Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, which in turn leads to frequent urination. Some of the other symptoms are:

  • Fatigue or a feeling of lethargy
  • Blurred vision
  • Nerve damage, numbness or burning pain (especially in the legs and arms)
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Dental problems and gum infections

Top Causes of Diabetes They say diabetes is in the genes. While that is true to some extent, there are other factors that might cause type 2 diabetes.

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Periods of stress or depression

Possible Complications One cannot underestimate the seriousness of diabetes as a disease and the consequences it can bring about. Some of the complications that may arise amongst diabetic patients include:

  • Loss of vision (Retinopathy) - Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74.
  • Nerve damage (Neuropathy)
  • Increased risk of stroke and attacks
  • Lower good cholesterol (HDL) and raised bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Kidney damage (Nephropathy)
  • Higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Diagnosis and Tests When you see an endocrinologist, he or she may recommend taking the following tests:  

  • Plasma glucose testSometimes referred to as the ‘random plasma glucose test’, it can be given any point of time during the day.

 

  • A1C testThis test shows the glucose levels in your body for the last 3 months and can be given at any time during the day.

 

  • Fasting plasma glucose testAs the name suggests, this test is supposed to be taken after fasting for a minimum of eight hours.

 

  • Oral glucose tolerance testThis test is done after going without food for the entire night and then repeated two hours after you consume a sugary beverage.

Managing and Controlling Diabetes Effectively If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is important that the patient takes certain measures in order to tackle the disease. You will need to make a conscious effort to alter your lifestyle. In case you are a smoker or drinker, giving up smoking and alcohol is perhaps the first step towards a better lifestyle. Dr. Nandita Shah’s Reversing Diabetes in 21 Days is a 320-page book that offers a step-by-step nutrition-based guide to curing diabetes. Read on to learn a few simple tips for the effective management of diabetes. 

  • See an endocrinologistWhile the internet has become the go-to expert for anything and everything in life, it is vital that you do not blindly trust the information you get off the web. Especially when you are dealing with a serious medical condition like diabetes, it is best to visit the doctor and get your system checked by a medical professional first. Your endocrinologist will guide you in terms of checking your glucose levels, blood pressure and other essentials and set up a calendar for checkups and follow-ups.

 

  • Eat healthy - It is no secret that your eating habits can go a long way in making or breaking your body. If you suffer from diabetes, it is important to keep a tab on the food you eat. Make certain that you are consuming healthy food that is low in fat and sugar. Eliminate animal fats and sugars completely, if possible, and increase the intake of fruits, bread, whole grains and veggies. You could also try an Ayurvedic treatment option like Dr. Vaidya’s Diabex pills that help in controlling your rising blood sugar levels.

 

  • Exercise every day - As you start ageing, your natural abilities, reflexes and immunity levels start deteriorating. To keep things on an even keel, you need to be physically active. Being ‘fit’ doesn’t mean lifting heavy weights in the gym or running marathons – depending on your age, you can work out an exercise regime that suits you. Walking, jogging, cycling, functional training, playing a sport, hitting the gym – you can choose to do one or more of these things, the choice is yours. It has been documented by healthcare researchers that being physically active can help you deal with diabetes much better than those who do not exercise at all.

 

  • Shed some weightBeing overweight is never a good thing – more so if you are a diabetic. Being obese is closely related to being prone to diabetes. If you have already been diagnosed with the disease, make sure you keep a watch on your weight and take steps to lose it through exercise and diet. Stay away from unhealthy or risky methods of losing weight – stick to the natural ones.

 

  • Wear diabetic socks - The health of your feet matters a lot when you suffer from diabetes. Ask your podiatrist for guidance on what kind of products can help. Non-invasive products with no side effects, like diabetic or therapeutic socks are great for diabetics. The uniquely designed fibers with light reflective elements woven into them enable vascular flow and increase the blood oxygen levels. Another variant of such socks are the anti-bacterial diabetic cooling socks that provide optimum comfort and cooling to your feet. While these socks will not directly help you ‘cure’ diabetes, they can provide you with comfort and enable the regulation of blood flow and maintain the blood oxygen levels, which is so very important for diabetics.

Apart from these five diabetes management tips, we also urge you to keep a regular check on your cholesterol and triglycerides levels. You should also ideally get blood tests, urine tests and eye checkups done sporadically to ensure that the diabetes isn’t going out of control. Remember, untreated diabetes can lead to a wide range of extreme health problems. Let us know if you have any questions about diabetes management in the comments below! 

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