Having diabetes means there is excessive glucose in your body. Diabetes develops in the body when the body doesn’t make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or isn’t able to use insulin properly (type 2 diabetes), a condition called insulin resistance found mostly in overweight people. If the body doesn’t use insulin well, the cells get starved of energy, leading to fatigue, even though the blood sugar levels may be high.
While people with type1 diabetes must take insulin injections, people with type 2 diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels by making certain lifestyle changes. Healthy eating and exercise can normalize blood sugar levels. Trade your painful finger sticks process for checking your blood sugar levels for a simple and painless process mentioned on PipLancets.com.
However, untreated diabetes can harm the entire body, especially the heart. Diabetes can often lead to heart attacks, kidney stones, strokes, blindness and other health problems. A diabetic person is two times more likely to get a heart attack than a healthy person.
Since diabetes is a lifelong condition, it needs to be managed well to continue leading a healthy life. Below, we look at the importance of managing diabetes.
Importance of Managing Diabetes
Diabetes effects your entire body and by controlling it, you can have more control over your health and well-being.
Gives you more control on your body
Anyone with diabetes will know how difficult it is to control your bladder. Diabetes brings with it the need to urinate frequently and you may feel constantly tired and thirsty. Since the cells are unable to store energy, diabetics are prone to low energy levels and hunger pangs. However, if diabetes is managed well these symptoms can be considerably reduced.
Quickens your healing process:
In diabetes, the body’s ability to metabolize insulin is reduced, causing high blood sugar levels. This effects the body’s ability to heal and can slow the healing process. In a diabetic patient, a wound may grow quickly but heal very slowly.
The feet are the most affected areas for wounds and if left untreated, a small wound on the foot can soon become a foot ulcer. With controlled blood sugar levels, the healing process improves.
Reduces susceptibility to infections:
Diabetic patients are highly susceptible to infections especially urinary tract infections and skin infections like follicular skin infections, fungal infections or genital candida infections. Along with managing your glucose levels, you can reduce your susceptibility to them by taking good care of your skin and cleanliness.
Common Health problems caused by diabetes:
If not managed well, diabetes can increase your chances of several health problems. See below some common health problems diabetics are prone to.
Nearly two-thirds of diabetic patients also have blood pressure and are more likely to get a stroke or a heart attack. This is because high blood sugar levels damage the arteries making them stiff. This stops the blood flow to the heart or brain leading to a stroke or heart attack. Heart diseases leading to a heart attack is the most common cause of death among diabetics.
If you’re a diabetic patient, make sure you get your eyes checked regularly, as diabetes can often lead to various eye problems like blurry vision, glaucoma, retinopathy and cataract. High blood sugar levels can cause the lens of your eyes to swell, leading to blurry vision. If proper care isn’t taken, diabetes can even cause blindness.
Prolonged levels of high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels at the back of your eyes, which can lead to bleeding or very high pressure inside you eye. High cholesterol and smoking will increase your risk of eye problems.
Diabetes can damage your nerves causing pain and numbness in your feet and legs, problems in the urinary tract or the digestive system. Most often, diabetes affects the nerves in your legs and feet. Serious feet problems like ulcers, joint pain and infections are common among diabetics.
Effect on Kidney:
Prolonged diabetes can damage your kidneys. Since the damage begins much before the symptoms start to appear, it's important for people with diabetes to regularly get their kidneys screened. Prolonged kidney damage can lead to kidney failure.
However, kidney damage can be slowed down by controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the intake of proteins.
Gum and teeth infections are another common problem faced by people with high glucose levels. Diabetes reduces the blood supply to the gums and causes dryness in the mouth leading to gum problems.
Sores or bleeding gums and bad breath that doesn’t go away are some of the common symptoms you may face. Proper dental care like brushing and flossing can help you prevent dental issues.
Managing Diabetes with lifestyle changes:
You now know the numerous diseases; diabetes brings along and the symptoms are difficult to manage. However, the good news is that by making certain lifestyle changes you can control blood sugar levels and prevent a lot of damage. Below are a few tips for lifestyle changes that can help you manage your blood glucose levels.
Daily exercise for 30 minutes each can help control blood sugar levels. Experts suggest light exercise for a few minutes after periods of sedentary work can improve blood sugar levels. If you’re overweight, losing a few kilos can help reduce your blood sugar and blood pressure.
In type 2 diabetes the glucose isn’t optimally used by the cells, which leads to spikes in sugar levels in the blood leading to many health complications. Hence, it’s important to include complex carbohydrates such as wheat, quinoa, lentils, fruits and vegetables in your diet. These foods take time to breakdown and the energy from the food is released slowly.
Simple carbohydrates like pasta, cookies, bread, sugar should be avoided. Chia seeds, salmon, cinnamon are some of the superfoods to include in your diet. Also avoid too much fat in your diet since it can slow the absorption process.
It’s advisable to have a diet rich in green leafy vegetable and fruits. Experts suggest a Mediterranean diet is most suitable for diabetic patients.
Maintain blood cholesterol:
Diabetes can lower HDL or good cholesterol and increase triglycerides or bad cholesterol. Hence, in most cases diabetes and cholesterol occur together and can increase the risk of heart diseases.
Exercise is important to reduce high cholesterol since it increases HDL which protects against heart disease. Taking a walk after your meal is a good way to balance your cholesterol levels,
Smoking makes the body more resistant to insulin, leading to an increase in sugar levels. Smoking also damages your cardiovascular system, when combined with diabetes, this can be dangerous and increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Control blood pressure:
Both blood pressure and diabetes have a lot in common. Both diseases have similar underlying causes and risk factors. Because of which, they tend to worsen each other's condition. A person with diabetes is often diagnosed with blood pressure too.
To manage your diabetes, it is equally important to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Along with medication, lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and regular exercise can help regulate blood pressure.
Take regular medication:
People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin several times a day. While those with type 2 diabetes, insulin is not necessary. They may manage their illness by taking regular medication prescribed by their doctor.
Your daily routine:
Keeping a routine can help you manage your diabetes well. Here are a few things you need to include in your routine for a healthy life.
- Taking your medications regularly: A lot of diabetic patients use aspirin as a blood thinner to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attack. Before using however, ask your doctor if you need it.
- Regularly check for cuts: check your legs and feet for small cuts, blisters and swelling. If any sores occur, consult your doctor.
- Daily dental care: Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once a day to keep your mouth healthy.
Regular blood sugar test: Test your blood sugar levels once or twice a day and keep a booklet to record the daily readings. Discuss it with your doctor on the next appointment.
- Regular blood pressure test: It’s advisable to also regularly check your blood pressure and keep a record of it.
Managing diabetes isn’t only about taking your medication on time but also involves regular checkups and lifestyle changes like healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Regular weight check, blood pressure check and blood glucose check can go a long way in slowing the damages caused by diabetes.
Diabetes can affect the entire body and may lead to problems such as heart diseases, kidney problems, blurry vision and gum and teeth problems. Therefore, it’s necessary to manage it well from the onset of the disease. Since prolonged diabetes can lead to insulin resistance and further increase the risk of diseases, you may avoid this by taking the necessary preventive measures.