How Can You Live A Long And Healthy Life With Diabetes?
Do you know how many people are affected by diabetes in India? According to the International Diabetes Federation, in the year 2017, there were over 72,946,400 cases of diabetes in India. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030. In this article, we will write on how to live a long and healthy life with diabetes.
What is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition which occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or when the body can't effectively use the insulin it produces. High blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia is common and leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems especially the blood vessels and nerves.
To understand diabetes, you first need to understand how insulin works in the body.
What is insulin? It is a hormone which is secreted by the islet cells of the pancreas into the bloodstream. The insulin then circulates, thereby enabling sugar to enter your cells and lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. When there is an insufficiency in the amount of insulin produced or the body can't use insulin properly, it causes diabetes.
Adults who are suffering from diabetes have twice the increased risk of heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure combined with lower blood flow, nerve damage in the feet which increases the chances of foot ulcers, and infections. Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness.
You should first understand what diabetes is and its three types i.e., type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. You have to understand your body well and the way it functions. This will help you to manage your diabetes day by day. Speak to your doctor about how you can take the best care of yourself.
Learning about diabetes and taking care of yourself will make you feel good today and in the future. It will help your body will get more energy, you will be less tired and thirsty, urinate less, wounds heal better, have fewer skin and bladder infections, lower the risk of heart attack or stroke, reduces eye problems, numbness in the hands and feet, teeth and gum problems, and kidney problems.
Speak to your health care professional about how to manage your diabetes ABC (A1C, Blood pressure and Cholesterol). This will lower the chances of getting a stroke, heart attack or other diabetes problems.
A stands for A1C test, a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months which is different from the regular blood sugar checks. It is necessary and important to keep a tab on your blood sugar levels so that it doesn't increase. An increase in blood sugar levels can harm your blood vessels, heart, feet, kidneys and eyes.
B stands for blood pressure which refers to the pressure of circulating blood on the walls of the blood vessels. It is important for a diabetic person to check his or her blood pressure as a rise in blood pressure causes a heart attack and stroke.
C stands for cholesterol which is of two types LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). The LDL (bad) cholesterol clogs your blood vessels which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
HDL (good) cholesterol helps to eliminate the bad cholesterol from the blood vessels.
Ask your health care professional what your A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers are and what should be the average number. The ABC goal will depend on what kind of health problems you have had, how long you have had diabetes and how difficult diabetes is to manage.
People who are living with diabetes should know the steps to take to stay healthy, but somehow find it difficult to stick to their health plan.
Ask your doctor about more ways to be active and when to test your blood sugar levels. Discuss how your diabetes meal plan is working for you whenever you visit your doctor.
Each time when you visit your doctor, make sure to have your blood pressure checked, foot checked, weight checked, and also review your self-care plan. Also ensure that you have a cholesterol test, dental check-up, eye check-up, flu shot and urine and blood test to check for kidney problems.
Ask your doctor if there are other tests that are required and what do the results mean whether they are positive or negative.
A simple change in your lifestyle habits can help in the prevention of diabetes.
1. Making healthier food choices by choosing foods that are low in refined carbohydrates and incorporating more vegetables, whole fruits, lean meats, beans and whole grains will allow you to continue a healthy diet.
2. Exercising regularly such as cycling or jogging will make your heart work better.
3. Take your medications on time.
4. Eat regularly and never miss your meals. Frequent consumption of meals and snacks at regular intervals can keep your blood sugar levels stable.
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