Diabetes is quickly becoming one of the most common health concerns across the world. The number of patients suffering from this condition is also increasing worldwide at an alarming rate. When it comes to diabetes care one of the most important points to note is that, often people suffering from this condition are not even aware of it. They become aware of it only once they start having serious symptoms related to diabetes. Diabetes can be treated and the person can lead a normal life even with diabetes but the right treatment at the right time is necessary.
Types of diabetes
There are two types of diabetes
Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed amongst children and young adults and is often called juvenile diabetes. In case of Type 1 diabetes either insulin is not produced in the body or produced at an inadequate rate. However, amongst all the diabetics in the world, only 5% are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of diabetes in the world, is caused due to insulin resistance. In this case the body loses its ability to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps in the conversion of Glucose to starch and inability of the body cells to use insulin naturally increases the glucose levels in blood, giving rise to Type 2 diabetes or hyperglycemia.
Patients with diabetes need to maintain proper food habit and lifestyle along with regular medications in order to keep the blood glucose level in check and to ensure that it does not affect the health adversely. If you are diabetic, you can lead a completely normal life, as long as you follow some Dos and Don’ts. This article will tell you the most important Dos and Don’ts that diabetic people need to keep in mind to lead a healthy life.
Dos for a patient of type 2 diabetes
Use a home blood glucose monitor
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that often increases silently. Diabetes patients often do not feel any changes or difference when their blood sugar levels increase. An increased blood sugar level can be extremely damaging for the body and hence instead of relying on how the patient feels, opting for regular blood glucose check at home, which now can be done easily with the home blood glucose monitor kits, is essential.
If you have diabetes, it is important that you are aware about your increased blood glucose levels before it starts producing the symptoms as the symptoms of diabetes are extremely damaging. It is best to consult your doctor about the blood glucose monitor kit you should use at home and also how frequently you need to check the blood glucose level at home.
Wear comfortable shoes
According to studies, patients with diabetes are prone to develop serious foot problems. In diabetic patients flow of blood to the feet is often poor, which might make it difficult to realize any sore or blister caused on the foot due to the shoe. The healing process is also quite slower for diabetics and hence even a small blister on the foot can take a turn for the worst if the person is diabetic.
If you are diabetic you really need not to wear the special “diabetic shoes” unless you are keen for it, but wearing shoes that are comfortable and not prone to cause blisters or sores on the foot is suggested. Also make it a point to examine your foot carefully every day to find out for even the smallest cut or beginning of a blister so that it can be checked and treated at the earliest stage.
See before you eat fruits
Fruits are healthy diet and we all love them, but for diabetics eating lots of fruits is certainly not a health friendly option. Fruits come with multiple vitamins, minerals as well as a good dose of carbohydrate. While some fruits have low carbs, some are particularly high in it. Carbohydrates give a quick spike to the blood sugar levels and it might be really difficult for your body to deal with it as it is already suffering from the inability of turning glucose to starch efficiently. So, eating lots of fruits is certainly not a healthy option for a diabetic patient.
It does not mean if you have diabetes you cannot eat fruits that you love. You can have fruits but you have to keep a strict eye on the portion you eat in a day. Make sure that you never eat a lot of fruits on a day. You can even skip on the other carbohydrate sources in your diet for a day to compensate it with a fruit. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to know how you should include fruits in your diet without affecting your blood sugar levels.
Stay safe from common diseases
Diabetic people are not more likely to catch flu or any other common diseases than the non-diabetic people, but if you have diabetes the healing process of the body is comparatively slower for you and hence if you happen to catch even a common flu it might be more difficult for you and might take more time to get completely cured. So, if you have diabetes, make it a point to stay safe from common illnesses, pneumonia and others.
Go for routine HbA1c test
Blood glucose level in the body changes from minute to minute and hence by a sugar test that gives only the data about the sugar level in the blood at the time when the blood was collected is not full proof for keeping a close check on the blood sugar. HbA1c is a test that gives an idea of the blood sugar levels of the patient over last several weeks and hence it is much more effective in giving a clear idea of how exactly the glucose levels have been maintained over time.
The big picture of sugar control for a particular patient can be found clearly with the hemoglobin A1c test. When diabetes is not controlled properly in a diabetic patient, the high blood sugar levels result into building up of sugar with the hemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrying compound present in the blood. Hence, by measuring the A1c level in hemoglobin the average amount of sugar in one’s blood over a prolonged period of time can be judged most accurately.
If a patient has controlled diabetes, in which case he/she should have an HbA1c of less than 7%, re-checking it every 3-6 months is advised. For patients with higher than 7% HbA1c levels re-doing the test after 3 months is necessary after consult with their doctor about how to control diabetes in a better way.
Get your dose of exercises regularly
Exercise can be really beneficial to control diabetes. It helps in lowering blood sugar levels and also improves the usage of insulin in the body. Regular exercise also helps in controlling blood pressure and promotes better cardiovascular health. Regular and proper exercises might even make it possible to maintain diabetes with lesser medications. At least 150 minutes of weekly exercise is suggested to the diabetic patients. Going out for walk, 3-4 days a week for 30-40 minutes in each session can do a bunch of good to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
You can also opt for strength training and cardiovascular exercises but make sure that you do not start with a very exhaustive training process without talking with your doctor. Any physical activities, starting from playing tennis to cycling, swimming, jogging, running, anything can be most helpful for the diabetes patients. Resistance training, 2-3 times a week, is particularly suggested to people with diabetes. Resistance training helps in building muscles which can improve the effectiveness of the insulin produced in the body, helping in keeping the blood sugar levels controlled.
Lose the extra weight
Losing the extra kilos can be really helpful to maintain diabetes in a better and more effective way. Losing weight not only reduces the tendency of having higher blood glucose levels but also promotes better insulin usage in the body which can be most helpful for better diabetes management. Losing weight also promotes cardiovascular health and reduces your risk of a number of other serious diseases. So, lose the extra weight and enjoy the benefits.
Control stress in life
Stress not only makes you unable to take best care for yourself but it has also been found to push the blood glucose levels high particularly if you have diabetes. So, if you have diabetes, controlling stress in life is important to keep it in check. In today’s situation, it might not be actually possible to avoid stress completely. So, the best way is to practice ways of stress management. Deep breathing techniques, regular exercises, yoga, adequate rest all can be helpful to control stress in life which can be effective to control diabetes.
Cut down your total salt consumption
Salt consumption is not directly related to blood sugar hike, but it is related with higher blood pressure and kidney ailments which are common in patients with diabetes. So, if you keep the total salt consumption in your diet low, it will reduce the chance of inviting cardiovascular problems and every diabetic is prone to have them. If you have diabetes, how much salt you should consume in a day, should be determined after discussion with your doctor or dietician.
While checking the amount of salt in cooked food is important to reduce your total salt consumption, reducing the processed food items that comes loaded with salt, in your diet is also important.
Maintain proper oral hygiene
People with diabetes are prone to have gum and oral problems. If your blood sugar is not well controlled, you are at a high risk of gum diseases that can even take turn for the worst. The risk of cavities and bacterial infections in the mouth is also higher for the diabetic patients. Interestingly, studies have suggested that untreated gum diseases can also trigger higher blood glucose levels making it more difficult to control blood sugar. So, if you have diabetes, ensure to follow proper oral hygiene and cleaning practices. Make it a point to check your teeth closely for cavities and visit your dentist in every six months.
Get sufficient sleep
People with Type 2 diabetes need to complete their sleep quota regularly. Inadequate sleep can result into a spike in the blood glucose levels. Less sleep also triggers the stress hormones in the body which can be a cause of higher blood sugar level. So, sleep adequately and ensure that you are not feeling tired when you are at work. If you seem to feel tired all the time, talk to your doctor immediately.
Don’ts for a patient of type 2 diabetes
Not controlling blood sugar
Uncontrolled blood sugar can be the most dangerous silent killer. If you know that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal and still you are not taking the right care for it or maintaining the proper lifestyle suggested to a diabetic, it can be most harmful for you. Uncontrolled diabetes is not very uncommon but it is one of the worst things that you can do to your body and is sure to show severe symptoms quickly enough.
Eating big portions
Diabetics can eat whatever they like but only in small portions. Maintaining the right quantity of the food is highly important for patients of diabetes because intake of food immediately gives a spike to the blood glucose level. So, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, one of the most important changes that you need to implement in your eating habits is eating only small portions at a time. If you are eating larger quantities, controlling diabetes is next to impossible.
Living a sedentary life
Our current lifestyle does not really encourage physical activities but as soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes it is important that you take up an active lifestyle. Regular exercise can reduce your blood glucose levels automatically. Strength training also helps in building muscles, which can increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body. Moreover, if you have diabetes and you are living a sedentary lifestyle, you are sure to put on weight, which will not only make it difficult to control diabetes but will also invite a number of other serious conditions and illnesses immediately.
Discarding all the fats from diet
You might have heard that diabetics should not eat fats as fats in diet increases the chance of having cardiovascular problems which is very common for diabetics. However, cutting down all the fats from your diet is certainly not the right way. There are two types fat, while the saturated and trans-fats increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases, the mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats promote better cardiovascular and overall health. So, if you have diabetes, instead of cutting down all the fats from your diet, replace the saturated fats for the unsaturated ones.
Not taking immediate care of wounds
Diabetic people tend to heal much slowly and hence it is really important for people with diabetes to take immediate care for even the smallest wound they might have got. For diabetics, leaving a wound unattended, simply leads to inviting bigger troubles. So, make sure to check your body for any wounds or cuts daily and take immediate care of the wound so that it heals quickly.
Drinking or smoking heavily
According to studies, alcohol can increase or lower your blood glucose levels suddenly if you have diabetes. Moreover, consumption of alcohol is directly related with weight gain which will not only increase the risk of having higher blood glucose levels but will also invite other health concerns like cardiovascular problems. Smoking might not affect your blood glucose levels directly, but it certainly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular ailments. If you have diabetes, you are already at a high risk of heart diseases and smoking will only add more to that risk.