Diabetes – What Is It?
Living with diabetes is always challenging, emotional and stressful. Many people diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes can go through depression due to lack of diabetes management. Diabetes develops when the amount of sugar in your blood becomes very high. It could come as a result because of the following reasons. Either because your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or because your body doesn’t respond to insulin.
The most important factor in the diabetes disease has to do with the human body’s production of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin enables the body to take sugar out of the bloodstream, and to get it inside the cells where it is used for energy or is stored.
Nevertheless, if the body does not produce enough insulin, little of the sugar will get to the cells to produce energy or be stored. Instead, sugar builds to high levels in the blood and begins to cause problems. In a nutshell, that is diabetes and there are two main types of diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
1. Type 1 Diabetes – Living with it
Type I diabetes is much more serious, however, less common. In this case, your body’s immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, sooner or later, eliminating insulin production from your body. And without insulin, cells cannot absorb sugar, which they need in order to produce energy.
Complications of diabetes can lead to blindness and kidney trouble. In order to minimise the effects, it is important to reduce the amount of sugar in the blood and in the urine. The need is to imitate the body’s normal and frequent fluctuations of insulin. Two ways it can be done is through preventive maintenance and insulin replacement.
Steps to take when living with Type 1 Diabetes
- Well-regulated diet. Avoid eating sugar, honey, pastries, sugar-laden soft drinks and sweets. Eating all these will make the levels of insulin and blood sugar quickly get out of balance. This leaves the diabetic person open to quick and severe illness or to the long-term complications of the disease.
- Exercise. Doing little physical activities can help to control your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and can help preserve your ability to live independently. If you are overweight, losing even 5 to 10 pounds can help make your diabetes easier to treat as well.
- Use of insulin injections. Insulin is a naturally-occurring hormone secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is required by the cells of the body in order for them to remove and use glucose from the blood. Cells use glucose to produce energy that they need to carry out their functions.
2. Type 2 Diabetes – Living with it
Type 2 diabetes is very common but not as serious as type 1. It can develop at any age. But It is most common in adults. However, Type 2 diabetes in children is rising. 90-95% out of 100 people that are diabetic have Type 2 diabetes. While the remaining 5-10% have the type 1 diabetes.
In Type 2 diabetes, the body isn’t able to use insulin the right way. This is known as insulin resistance. As Type 2 diabetes gets worse, your pancreas may make less and less insulin. This is known as insulin deficiency.
Steps to take when living with Type 1 Diabetes
Though pills are widely used for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. A good diet that reduces weight and cuts down on the simple sugars, accompanied by sensible exercise, may be more useful. If diet, exercise, and abstaining from sugar-laden soft drinks and sweets do not lower blood-sugar levels enough, then pills may be prescribed.
In each case, all factors need to be weighed by competent doctors before treatment is recommended.
Why is diabetes serious
Diabetes has been called “a disorder of the very engine of life,” and for good reason. When the body cannot metabolize glucose, a number of vital mechanisms can break down, sometimes with life-threatening consequences. “People don’t die directly from diabetes,” says Dr. Harvey Katzeff, “they die from complications. We do a good job of preventing complications, but a poor job of treating [them] once they occur.”
Is there hope for those who are afflicted with diabetes? Yes—if they recognize the seriousness of the disorder, and submit to a program of treatment.
Living With Diabetes – Tips And Advice
In the case of Type 2 diabetic the solution may be non-insulin medications, insulin, diet and weight loss. According to the book Diabetes—Caring for Your Emotions as Well as Your Health says: “With type 2, the picture is much brighter. Many of those who might be genetically susceptible avoid showing any sign of this disease. They do this simply by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, thereby staying physically fit and keeping their weight within normal limits”
While for the Type 1 diabetic, the solution of living with the disease is not so simple. Furthermore, episodes of low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) are common and it cannot be prevented but can only be managed.
It is best when a diabetic pays special attention to his or her body. By careful monitoring you learn how your body reacts to stress, which can cause your blood-sugar level to shoot up. Additionally, part of the answer may lie in the individual’s attitude toward the diabetes, and not in the medical treatment involved.
14 Tips and Advice when living with diabetes
1. Take your medicines for diabetes regularly even when you feel good
This is very important because it helps to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. When blood sugar soars out of control or remains high, it can damage blood vessels and nerves throughout your body.
2. Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots and swelling.
If you have damaged nerves in your legs and feet, you might not feel heat, cold, or pain there. This absence of feeling is called sensory diabetic neuropathy. If you do not feel a cut or sore on your foot because of neuropathy, the cut could get worse and therefore, become infected. The muscles of your foot may not work properly. This happens because the nerves to the muscles are damaged. This could cause your foot to not position properly, and it will create too much pressure on one part of your foot.
3. Brush your teeth and floss every day to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy.
Poorly controlled diabetes can cause dental problems. They’re more likely to have infections of their gums, and the bones that hold their teeth in place, because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums. High blood sugar may also cause dry mouth. In addition, make gum disease become worse.
4. Stop smoking
Smoking is very risky if you have diabetes. The nicotine in cigarettes makes your blood vessels harden and narrow. Therefore, curbing the flow of blood all over your body. Furthermore, diabetes makes you more likely to get heart disease. So it wouldn’t be good if you also smoke, because it can increase the risks
5. Always keep track of your blood sugar.
Blood sugar is the amount of sugar you have in your blood at a given time. It’s important to check your blood sugar level. Doing that on a regular basis is very necessary. It will help you to determine if your blood sugar level is low or high at a given time. Additionally, keeping track of your blood sugar level also show you, how your lifestyle and medication affect your blood sugar levels.
6. Maintain a healthy diet
Your body not being able to make or properly use insulin, can lead to high blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. Healthy eating helps keep your blood sugar in your target range. It is a critical part of managing your diabetes, because controlling your blood sugar can prevent the complications of diabetes
7. Avoid trans fats
Trans fat increases the amount of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) in the body, but they also lower the amount of HDL (high-density lipoprotein). When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called plaque. As your blood vessels build up plaque over time, the insides of the vessels narrow. This narrowing blocks blood flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.
8. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
Another way to live with diabetes is to avoid beverages that contain excessive sugar, as they cause spikes in blood glucose.
9. Eat lean protein
Protein requires insulin for metabolism, as do carbohydrate and fat, but has minimal effects on blood glucose levels. In well-controlled diabetes, large amounts of protein have the potential to contribute to glucose production, minimally increase blood glucose levels, and require additional small amounts of insulin
10. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet from time to time
This is important when living with diabetes, because fruit and vegetables are associated with lower risk of heart disease, and certain types of cancers. They also provide fibre, minerals and vitamins.
11. Coordinate your meals and medications
Good coordination of your meals and medications is vital if you’re living with diabetes. It will help you to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, you should eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal or snack.
12. Stay hydrated at all times
For those with type 2 diabetes, drinking lots of fluid is especially important. It helps flush excess sugar out of the blood stream, lowering blood sugar levels. Furthermore, water is depleted as we breathe and perspire. So you can see why it’s important to stay well hydrated every day.
13. Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed
If your blood sugar is higher than it should be, or you have unpleasant side effects from diabetes medications, a change in your treatment plan may be needed. Your type 2 diabetes treatment plan might need to be adjusted if:
- You aren’t achieving optimal blood sugar control.
- You’re achieving control and no longer require certain medications.
- You’re experiencing unpleasant side effects from a medication.
- Your health insurance won’t cover the recommended medications.
- New medications are available that may be better for you.
14. Stay physically active
Exercise can lower your blood sugar and help you maintain a healthy weight. Swap some TV time for exercise time. You cannot change your genes, but you can change your lifestyle. Doing what we can to improve our health is worth the effort.
Best Foods to Control Diabetes
- vegetables include: spinach, collard greens, kale, cabbage, bok choy and broccoli, etc
- whole grains include: brown rice, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, bulgur and rye, etc.
- Some fish includes: salmon, mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, herring and trout, etc
- Beans include: kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans and adzuki beans, etc
- Other fruits include walnut, citrus fruits, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, sweet potatoes, Probiotic yogurt, Chia seeds.
Support from family and close friends
It is also helpful when family members and close friends learn about diabetes, even taking turns attending medical appointments with the sufferer. Knowledge of it will help them to be of support, recognize important symptoms, and know how to respond. Family and close friends should strive to be supportive, kind, and patient with the sufferer.
Also, family members can also provide the necessary emotional support, encourage activities to lower stress and depression, and promote improved lifestyle choices. This help ensure improved well-being of their diabetic relatives.
Reason why I write this article
My grandmother and my mom were diabetic. My wife and my sister also have diabetes. There’s a chance that i may get diabetes as well. Because Type 2 diabetes can be hereditary. Although that doesn’t mean that if your mother or father has (or had) type 2 diabetes, you’re guaranteed to develop it. Instead, it means that you have a greater chance of developing type 2.
My mom, before the Type 1 diabetes disease took her away from us, she struggled with it for about 20 years. She watches her diet and her weight, gets plenty of exercise, and follows her doctor’s instructions. She also takes her drugs every day. In spite of all her precautions, we were unable to tell what her blood sugar will be. Today, it may be 200. The next day, on the same schedule, it may be 50. It just keeps going up and down.
Finally, the diabetes affected her eyes and she has diabetic retinopathy. She spends a lot of money for the treatment. But nothing works. Until she almost became blind. She hardly sees. She sees things as if they were shadows. And then later on, she developed high blood pressure from time to time. The diabetes later damaged her kidney, and she spent weeks in a hospital. Finally, she died from cardiac arrest. It was really painful for all of us. She’s just under 65 years at the time.
What might have caused it.
Due to her doctor’s oversight, the condition continued to worsen. They failed to do the necessary test in order to know the full extent of the problems caused by the illness. She was later transferred to a different hospital. There, they discovered that the problem has gone from bad to worse. unfortunately for us, it was too late.
Furthermore, this also happened because we probably didn’t educate ourselves well enough, so that we can handle it. Maybe, she had the disease a long time before it was diagnosed. That could also be a serious problem. It is of utmost importance to be aware of the risks involved when living with diabetes. It will help save lives.
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