What to do, When you have Diabetes : Living well with Diabetes

Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Larry King, Sonam Kapoor and Kamal Hassan has it and are thriving.

Diagnosed with Diabetes….need to worry.  Diabetes leads to shorter life span, increase the cost of medical care, many a times lead to permanent physical disability, and loss of independence. At the same time do not fret, you are one among 425 million from around the world. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Larry King, Sonam Kapoor and Kamal Hassan  has it and are thriving. This disease, though chronic, can be kept under control by bringing in changes in lifestyle and food habits. But before heading straight to making corrections in lifestyle, understand the basics of this disease so that you can LIVE HAPPILY WITH IT.

Why we must not take Diabetes lightly

Having diabetes does not mean just take a shot of insulin or pills and live carefree. At first, doctors did think that exogenous insulin or drugs would solve all the problems of diabetes. As people began to live longer with diabetes they understood that administration of insulin or drug cannot completely correct the diabetic state.

Diabetes associated with cerebro-vascular disease and diabetes associated with amputations are two of the most frequently reported conditions requiring assistance with daily living. Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness and kidney failure in adults. People with diabetes are twice as likely as members of the general population to have heart disease. Pregnant women with diabetes require intensive prenatal care, and their babies are five times more likely to require intensive perinatal care.

Understanding diabetes: The first step towards managing it

What Is Diabetes?

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to support normal food metabolism. Understanding diabetes: The first step towards managing it

There are two main types of diabetes: Type I, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, and Type II, non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Type II is the most common one.

World Diabetes Day is celebrated on  November 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, one of the men credited with discovering insulin.

Although diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed successfully. Diabetes management means keeping under control  blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fats levels. Good control is very important to avoid long-term complications 

Disease management starts with :

Blood Sugar Monitoring: The first step to Diabetes management

Many elements are important in managing diabetes on a daily basis, but blood sugar management is the most essential one. It helps in

  • Determining whether treatment plan is working
  • Understanding how diet and exercise affect blood sugar levels
  • Understanding the impact of other illness or stress on blood sugar levels 
  • Leading a life without worrying about disease

Create Personalized Diabetes Eating Plan

Understanding diabetes: The first step towards managing it

First thing to understand is there is no such thing as a “diabetic diet”. No single eating plan will work the same for everyone. Some people will be able to eat more carbohydrates and still achieve good blood sugar control. Others may require a higher protein intake, with a reasonable balance between plant and animal protein sources. The key is to monitor blood sugar levels carefully to determine which foods work best

Also remember that sugar-free does not mean carbohydrate free. The total number of carbohydrates eaten will impact blood sugar levels, no matter whether they come from sugars, fruits, or candies.

Diabetes Medication: Know how it works

An understanding of how diabetes medications function either in the form of insulin or pills, is important for good blood sugar control.

Oral medications work by

  1. stimulating insulin production in pancreas
  2. making body cells more sensitive to insulin

There are several oral medications available to accomplish these functions. Metformin,  glyburide, and glipizide are three of the more commonly used medications.

All about Insulin

Many different forms of insulin is available to treat diabetes. They are grouped by how fast they start to work and how long their effects last.

1) Rapid-acting insulin is taken just before or after meals, to control spikes in blood sugar. This type is typically used in addition to a longer-acting insulin.

2) Short-acting insulin covers your insulin needs during meals. It is taken about 30 minutes to an hour before a meal to help control blood sugar levels.

3) Intermediate-acting insulin can control blood sugar levels for about 12 hours or longer, so it can be used overnight.

4) Long-acting insulin has an onset of one hour, and lasts for 20 to 26 hours with no peak.

5) Pre-mixed insulin combines intermediate- and short-acting insulin. It is often taken twice a day before meals. It should be taken 10 minutes to 30 minutes before eating.

Inhaled insulin is the latest one and it begins to work within 12 to 15 minutes. It peaks by 30 minutes, and is out of system in 180 minutes.

Exercise is important

Exercise is frequently recommended in the management of diabetes  and can improve glucose uptake by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering body adiposity.

Unlike medication, exercise is low cost and has no side-effect. Those with diabetes who do not exercise are three times more likely to have poor diabetes control and more likely to suffer from related complications. Exercise also reduces the level of fat in the body, especially around the tummy area. It is thought that it is this mobilization of the body’s fat stores, by exercising, that might improve blood glucose control.

It’s advisable for patients to monitor their blood glucose level before and after exercise session, especially when beginning an exercise program. This will allow the patient to understand how receptive their body is towards chosen physical activity.

Mobile apps:  personalized diabetes management companion

Mobile apps would serve as personalized diabetes management companion. These apps help in recording all blood glucose reading, provide reports and charts for better tracking and monitoring, give valuable inputs on how to manage the disease on a day-to-day basis based on readings and help in tracking medication and doctor follow up. All data is accessible at any time, eliminating the need for paperwork or manual recording. The adherence to activities for the management of diabetes, such as regular medication and insulin injection, self-monitoring of blood glucose, diet,  lifestyle modifications and exercise becomes easier with mobile apps.

Diabetes is for sure scary, but one can lead a happy and healthy life by learning to manage the disease.

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