Diabetes is a disease that is known to cause a high level of blood sugar which is a result from the deficiency of the pancreas not being able to produce enough or any insulin. The hormone insulin is what the pancreas makes to help retrieve glucose derived from food to circulate across the body cells and be used as energy. When the body cells are unable to extract glucose, glucose then becomes stagnant in the blood. Overtime, excessive glucose in the blood can lead to health problems which usually results to Diabetes.
Diabetes may manifest itself in a variety of ways, and how the disorder is managed varies according to the form. The most common types of diabetes are:
Type 1 Diabetes: This is a type of diabetes in which the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are damaged and as a result, the body cannot generate any form of insulin. Normally, the body gets glucose from what we eat. It is the insulin that performs the role of passing glucose to the body cells which is used for energy. Owing to the deficiency of insulin in the body, glucose can’t get into the cells, leaving it flowing in the blood. Excess of glucose in the blood can result to a number of health complications. Patients with this kind of diabetes are insulin-dependent and they usually rely on artificial insulin to survive.
Type 2 Diabetes: With type 2 diabetes, insulin is produced but not enough or the body is unable to make use of it efficiently as it normally should (insulin resistance). This is the most common type of diabetes. It is possible for this type of diabetes to occur at any age, including childhood. Although, research shows that it is most common in adults aged forty and above.
Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy. It develops when placental hormones obstruct insulin, stopping the body from adequately controlling the elevated blood sugar levels of pregnancy.
Diabetes, if not managed properly, will cause an accumulation of sugars in the blood, increasing the possibility of serious conditions such as stroke and heart disease. It is important to know that diabetes does not always result from being obese or living an unhealthy lifestyle. In fact, some of them exist from the moment they are born. While there is no known treatment for diabetes, one can take precautions to control it and remain healthy.
Haven known a bit about the health condition called diabetes, here are 5 easy lifestyle tips to help generally manage it:
1. Adopt a healthy diet
Whether you have diabetes or not, the truth remains that eating healthy is an important part of having a healthy lifestyle. With diabetes, you need to be conscious of what you eat and how it can impact your blood sugar levels. You need to be aware of not just the kind of meal you consume but also the quantity of what you eat as well as the variation of food classes. There are no foods that are entirely prohibited. Concentrate on consuming just what the body needs, a balanced diet is encouraged. Consume a variety of fruits, beans, legumes, vegetables, whole grain. Sugary and fatty foods should be avoided as much as possible as they can cause the blood sugar to rise quickly.
2. Be active
Having a workout routine will assist you in achieving and sustaining a healthier weight as well as boosting insulin sensitivity. Improved insulin sensitivity ensures that your cells can use the glucose in your blood more effeciently. By exercising, it will help increase the muscles’ capacity to use the available sugar in the blood for energy. It’s not a must that your exercise needs to be elaborate even doing mild tasks such as domestic chores, planting, or standing on your feet for long stretches of time, will help to adequately improve your sugar level in your bloodstream and can also reduce the risk of you having a heart disease. You can have a word with your doctor on an exercise type and schedule that will be suitable for you. Generally, a 30minutes workout session daily can really go a long way.
3. Stop smoking and reduce drinking alcohol
Your blood sugar level cannot receive the necessary improvement it needs if your liver is too occupied absorbing alcohol. You might realise that by reducing your intake of wine or liquor, managing diabetes will be easier. Blood sugar levels can rise or drop easily by drinking alcohol. But id you still choose to drink, it is important not to go overboard.
4. Take your medicine
Take your diabetes medication seriously. When food and fitness combined are insufficient for managing diabetes insulin and other diabetes drugs are used to reduce blood sugar levels. The efficacy of these drugs, however, is dependent on the quantity and duration of the dosage. Drugs used to treat diseases other than diabetes may also have an effect on the blood sugar levels. it is important to check with your doctor before going ahead to get any new medication so that the impact of such medication on your body can be discussed with you. Smoking generally can lead to a number of health complications but with diabetes in the picture, the risk of getting such complication becomes higher.
5. Check your blood sugar levels
As it is said, it is essential to ‘know your numbers’ as a diabetic patient. Some activities can cause your sugar levels to spike or plumet, so by frequently checking your sugar levels will keep you informed on how best to manage it. Just as high sugar levels can be dangerous, it is also applicable to low blood sugar levels. Striking the right balance is necessary.
Below is a radio documentary I made with my aunty, Aunt Rosemary that has diabetes. In this documentary, my aunt shares her ordeals of how she got diagnosed as well as how she has been able to manage this health condition. I hope by listening, it will not only serve as an informative/educative piece but also, as a source of motivation to other people that might be struggling with this disease.