Lifestyle-induced health conditions are commonplace these days. Diabetes is one such commonly occuring condition with rapidly rising instances owing tounhealthy lifestyles. On a positive note, diabetes is a disorder and not a disease, and hence can be very well managed.
Let’s understand diabetes better
The first step to manage any disease or disorder is to understand it. Diabetes is a chronic endocrine disorder where the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin helps in regulating blood sugar, therefore diabetes leads to raised blood sugar levels. Diabetes is essentially of two types:
1. Type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes Caused by deficient insulin production right from childhood. It is not preventable.
2. Type 2 Diabetes:
Type 2 Diabetes Caused by inadequate utilization of insulin by the body, called insulin resistance. It occurs in adults and is caused by lifestyle habits.
• Excessive thirst
• Excessive urination
• Constant hunger
• Blurred vision
Managing the Condition
Most people think that being diagnosed with diabetes means relegating oneself to a drab and difficult life. This is absolutely not true. Most lifestyle diseases, including diabetes, can be managed very well to enjoy a great quality of life. Acknowledge the conditionand exertthe will to change your lifestyle, and you can enjoy all the sweetness of life!
In the short term, one must understand one’s body i.e. how blood sugar levels fluctuate in relation to factors like diet, exercise, medication, and stress.Long term measures include a substantial and sustainable lifestyle change for the better. Here is a two-pronged approach to manage diabetes.
Maintain regular doctor consultations with your regular physician and your diabetes clinic checking for possible complications periodically. A diabetes healthcare team consists of your Primary Care Physician, Diabetes Doctor, Diabetes Educator, Clinical Nutritionist, Ophthalmologist, and Podiatrist (foot doctor). Talk to your team about how and from whereyou can access your medical records and demographic details so as to stay informed.
2. Beyond the clinic:
Much of diabetes management is about conscious lifestyle modifications.
a. Eat healthy:
Different foods affect the blood sugar levels differently. Hence,it is important to have a special diet for managing diabetes. Have a balanced meal and learn to count carbohydrates based on portion sizes. Opt for complex carbohydrates that pack a punch of fibre (vegetables, whole grains). Time your meals as per your medication timings to avoid a dip (hypoglycaemia) or spike (hyperglycaemia) in blood sugar levels.
b. Physical Exercise:
Exercise helps muscles utilize glucosethereby reducing blood sugar levels. It also helps the body use insulin better in the long run. Exercise for diabeticsis mandatory, but needs discretion. So,devise an optimum exercise plan with your healthcare team depending on your blood sugar levels and insulin dosage (or oral medication dosage) and timing. Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
c. Manage Stress:
Diabetes management is not just about managing the physical symptoms, it may take a toll on your emotional health. Keep stress at bay by indulging in relaxation techniques like Yoga and see yourself gaining positivity and confidence.
d. Measure blood sugar levels:
Monitoring diabetes at home allows you to keep a constant tab on your blood sugar levels and other vitals such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Invest in an accurate glucometer. These days, a number of technology-enabled devices are connected in real-time to your clinic or hospital, analysing your sugar-level trends and feeding you recommendations. These devices help you and your doctors manage your diabetes better.
All diabetes management methods work towards a single goal i.e. to restore carbohydrate metabolism to normalcy. You, along with your health care team and your loved ones must study and understand the condition well. Awareness is the first step towards making a change.Be that change-maker for a healthy, fulfilling and long life!
So take the reins in your hands- take control of your diabetes with these simple steps, rather than itcontrolling you!