Approximately 70 million people suffer from Diabetes in India. As our doctors say, diabetes is not just a condition but a lifestyle.Learn about diabetes, its symptoms and how best to manage your lifestyle when you have diabetes.
Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that elevates your blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time. It is caused by the malfunctioning of the pancreatic cells, which produce insufficient or no Insulin. It is a chronic disorder which can be managed with right medication and healthy lifestyle.
Managing diabetes can feel overwhelming at times. However, understanding the deeper aspects can burst many myths and shows diabetes can be managed easily. Let’s venture out different diabetes issues and better ways to deal them.
Lifestyle changes include adopting a healthy diet and exercise plan which plays a direct role in controlling the blood glucose levels of a person living with diabetes. It is important to deal with the stress and emotional turmoil that comes with this diagnosis and so getting the right support and making lifestyle changes to successfully manage this condition is imperative.
A research conducted on 3500 patients by a school in Westminster, USA concluded that there are two major personality characteristics in the management of diabetes are the Interactive and the Independent personality.
A healthy diabetes diet aids in treating and controlling blood sugar level. Though everyone requires a balanced diet to stay healthy, diabetics need to watch out the food they eat to keep an eye on spiked blood sugar levels. Here are some healthy eating strategies which can curb diabetes.
An assortment of some yummy diabetic-friendly recipes are not bring down blood sugar levels, but are a delight to eat. Here we bring you easy and quick recipe tricks and tips, which are easy and quick to cook.
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be an overwhelming experience In fact, it can be a major life stress for many people. This is especially true as most chronic conditions and progressive diseases can prove to be quite challenging to manage emotionally.
If you or your family are feeling anxious and disheartened, you should know that it is natural to feel that way. You should also know that you are not alone, and that 70 million other people in India are living with Diabetes. This is a condition that needs to be “managed”.
In brief, Diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce enough insulin, and at times no insulin is produced at all. Insulin is required to remove sugars and toxins from our system, and when they do not get flushed out, they tend to accumulate, resulting in high blood glucose levels.
You will be happy to know there are countless cases of people who have reversed their condition simply by making changes in their daily lives, especially when it comes to food, exercise and stress management. With some precautions and care, we are confident that you too can be a winner.
Remember, with a clear plan, appropriate guidance, right (and on time) medications, timely tests and appropriate modifications to your lifestyle you can not only overcome your condition but stay on top of it. To know more, please refer to our Let’s Understandsection
Remember, we are here to help you in your endeavour to stay focussed and on target!
Some quick tips that the American Diabetes Association and other bodies recommend that you should follow:
Find a good doctor
We recommend seeking the advice of a specialist, in this case an ‘endocrinologist’ or ‘diabetologist’ who can help and direct you with a constructive plan of action. Check with your doctor if you have to repeat your tests.
Acquire as much information as you can
An informed person can make better decisions. Therefore, it is essential for you to get to know more about food and other lifestyle changes that will help you manage better. Newly-diagnosed people are frequently advised to control blood sugar levels by following a healthy nutrition plan along with a regular exercise regime. To know more, read recommended diets and exercise plans for people living with diabetes.
Seek help and support from your family
Research suggests that with family support one can manage diabetes much more effectively than running self-managed programmes. Your partner, family, and friends play a huge role in motivating you and helping you adhere to your diabetes management programme.
Make your own plan:
As you may already know, food plays a very important role in diabetes management. An ideal diabetes meal plan consists of low carbs, low sugar, lean proteins and high fibre diet. You may choose from a wide variety of Diabetes meal plans available to you. Before you start following one, you are advised to check with your doctor or dietician regarding the amount of calories you need to take in a day/week, according to your BMI and physical activity rate. You may also seek a dietician’s advice to put together a plan that works best for you
Check on Alcohol and tobacco consumption
Research suggests smoking may aggravate complications from Diabetes, such as heart diseases and may lead to nerve and kidney damage. It is, therefore, highly advisable to significantly limit or give up smoking. Alcohol consumption can have a strong impact on your blood sugar levels, not to mention liver-related disorders. It is a good idea to take your doctor’s advice on whether you can consume alcohol, and how much. In any case, please remember to always eat a meal while consuming alcohol to prevent fluctuations or spiking of blood glucose levels.
Medicines – on time, every time!
One of the most crucial aspects of Diabetes management is to take your medication regularly and avoiding skipping meals. The medical explanation is that medicines and food have a direct role in keeping “good control” of blood glucose levels. If your doctor has advised you to take Insulin then please DO NOT skip your shots. Many people fear pain or scarring resulting from the Insulin shots, and the good news is that one can learn the right, less painful ways of taking Insulin. Refer to our “Insulin section” for more details. In fact, in order to keep your blood glucose levels in control, you should eat small meals more frequently and consult a dietician to plan the best possible meal plan for you.
Indulge yourself. Take extra care of your teeth to keep gum diseases at bay
While it is true that you have to follow a strict plan, talk to your doctor about rewarding yourself once in a while. However, do keep in mind the fact that you have to keep up with your basic health and hygiene requirements. Do brush your teeth at least twice a day, as people living with Diabetes tend to have frequently-returning gum infections. You should also floss your teeth once a week and see a dentist at least twice a year. Inform your dentist if your gums bleed or get swollen to have the concerns addressed at the earliest.
Be careful about Wounds
Take your wounds seriously, do go and see a doctor immediately if you feel your wounds are healing slowly, or not healing at all as high blood sugar can reduce blood flow, damage nerves and delay healing. It is essential to take care of your foot as minor cuts and blisters can lead to serious infections. Infact people living with Diabetes should also monitor for tingling or loss of sensation in the hands and feet.
Last but not the least
With a strong determination and sincere effort, one can easily control Diabetes and enjoy living life like never before. Join the support community for family and friends of people living with Diabetes, a unique platform to share, help and bring a change in the lives of families and people living with Diabetes.
What can I do as a family/friend of a newly diagnosed loved one ?
As a partner or caregiver, it is understandable that your feel anxious and concerned on hearing the diagnosis of Diabetes.
Please be assured that there is no cause for concern as this is a condition that can be managed with a little care and diligence. You may need to play a pivotal role in the management of the condition for your partner or a loved one and therefore, you would need to be supporting and considerate. Research points to high success rates for diabetics that have had the support of a spouse or family member.
No need to panic
While Diabetes is considered a lifelong “chronic” condition, there is no need to panic as it can be managed with lifestyle and diet changes. Please be caring and supportive as your partner/family member may have to depend on you to make the required changes and live a long and healthy life
It is a good idea to actively participate in your partner’s plans and health goals. By working as a team your support is implicit. Set reminders to take medication on time, learn how to inject insulin, figure out what food items work and what don’t. Set realistic goals, and learn the fine art of encouraging without nagging.
Diabetes can impact the whole family and not just the person living with the condition. In order to avoid the caregiver fatigue syndrome, it is a good idea to spend some time for you. Take timeout to pursue your own goals and keep up with your friends and associates outside of the Diabetic circle.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below.
Have you been diagnosed with borderline high blood sugar levels? In your case the blood sugar levels recorded are higher than normal, but not high enough to be full-fledged Diabetes. This is referred to as the Prediabetes stage which can be reversed by following recommended guidelines.
During this phase, your pancreatic cells are still producing a little amount of insulin to convert carbohydrates into sugar, however, Insulin produced by the pancreas is not sufficient to remove sugars effectively, keeping the blood glucose level high.
It has been observed that people with Prediabetes may not take this condition seriously. However, research suggests that the sooner one begins to take precautions, the better are the chances of reversal of this condition.
Some quick tips
Make small changes and be a winner!
Prediabetes can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes; however, this development can be easily prevented. It requires small efforts and minor changes in your lifestyle. Research shows that reducing your body weight by just 5 -10 %, to begin with, makes a remarkable difference in the natural Insulin production in the body. Weight loss can also delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes significantly.
Watch your portion sizes
Dieticians round the globe suggest having 3 main meals and 3 mini meals to have a good control of your glucose levels. You may choose to use smaller plates for meals to check on serving portions to begin with. The plate method advocated by ADA is specially designed for people living with Diabetes or Prediabetes. This approach advises that you fill half of your plate with fibrous fruits and vegetables; one quarter with low carbohydrates, such as brown rice or a baked potato; and the last quarter should be lean protein, like grilled fish or chicken.
Never skip meals
Eat regularly. It is always a good idea to follow a regular meal pattern and not skip meals. People who eat regular meals, beginning with healthy breakfast, are healthier, more energetic and weigh less than those who skip meals. Consume mini meals. Eating healthy mini meals and snacks such as fruits, multigrain bars and low-calorie preparations help you to not only control your blood sugar, but also hunger pangs and prevents you from overeating and binging.
Limit tobacco and alcohol consumption
Research suggests smoking may aggravate complications from Diabetes, such as heart diseases and may lead to nerve and kidney damage. It is, therefore, highly advisable to significantly limit or give up on smoking. Alcohol consumption can have a strong impact on your blood sugar levels; they often spike blood glucose levels leading to poor diabetes management. It is a good idea to take your doctor’s advice on whether you can consume alcohol, and how much. In any case, please remember to always eat a snack or a meal while consuming alcohol to prevent fluctuations or spiking of blood glucose levels.
Exercise is integral to a healthy lifestyle. If you have been diagnosed with Prediabetes, it is even more essential for you to have a fitness routine. It is a good idea to check with your doctor before you starting any exercise program. However, a daily walk of 30 – 45 minutes usually makes a good starting point. You may also choose from a wide variety of exercise regimes such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai chi, Swimming, Dancing and Jogging.
Acquire as much information as you can
It is believed an informed person can make better decisions. Hence we urge you to make an effort to learn about food and lifestyle changes that will help you manage your condition better.
Take help and support from your family
Research suggests that it is easier to manage Diabetes more effectively with family support. Your partner, family, and friends can play a huge role in motivating you and helping you adhere to your diabetes management programme. It is a good idea to check with your doctor before you starting any exercise program. However, a daily walk of 30 – 45 minutes usually makes a good starting point. You may also choose from a wide variety of exercise regimes such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai chi, Swimming, Dancing and Jogging.
Last but not the least
Always maintain a positive approach. Studies suggest that people who consider Prediabetes as a burden or stress are often unsuccessful in managing this condition. Hence, with a positive mind and attitude you can successfully control your blood glucose levels and come on top of your condition.
What I can do as family/friend of a diagnosed Prediabetes?
Studies reveal that a majority of partners and family members may be equally worried upon detection of their partner’s Prediabetes/Borderline condition. But the good news is that you and your family can play a very important role in arresting and reversing the condition. Research suggests, Partners and family members who actively take interest in managing Prediabetes/borderline condition with in their spouses have been very successful in achieving excellent results.
You may already know that Prediabetes is a warning condition, but studies are on our side saying the condition can be reversed by bringing in lifestyle changes and following low carb diets, exercise regimes and incorporating lifestyle changes.
Equip yourself first
Reading and collecting information on diabetes yourself can be very helpful for you to understand what your partner is going through physically and emotionally. You may also choose to take guidance from a certified diabetic educator or a physician to help your partner in the best possible ways.
Support your partner mentally and emotionally
Psychologists suggest that people living with Prediabetes/Diabetes undergo tremendous emotional turmoil. Feelings such as anxiety, fear, guilt, anger, frustration and denial are bound to be experienced. As a family member / partner you should try to be supporting and understanding of these emotional ups and downs. You are also advised to consult a certified diabetic educator to help you motivate your partner in dealing with this condition.
Participate in arresting Prediabetes/borderline condition
It is always easier to approach a challenge as two people rather than one. By working together not only are you motivating yourself but you are also acting as a check for the other person. Planning goals together is very helpful in attaining successful results, it is a good idea to discuss and chalk out plans mutually before starting to follow any regime for management of this condition. Research suggests that partners, who ate the same food, and did combine exercises yielded better results than self-managed programmes. Reminding your partner to adhere to the Prediabetes management programme may help in controlling high glucose levels in people with Borderline conditions. You may also choose to follow “eating by the plate method” advocated by ADA and try various diets. However, it is important to beware that constant nagging, complaining or forcing may backfire in managing this condition. It’s advisable to set realistic goals, and handle situations compassionately.
Empower and replenish yourself
Research shows family and partners undergo tremendous mental and physical fatigue. Remember to take care of yourself too, because you may also undergo mental and physical stress while looking after your companion. Ensure that you have time for yourself and for pursuing the interests you enjoyed before Diabetes made an appearance in your life. Pamper yourself and remain cheerful. It is important to strike a balance in order to manage your personal and professional life. Set realistic goals and do not give up. Eat a well-balanced healthy diet and learn different ways to cope up with stress. To know more read the below tips to manage compassion.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below.
Johnny Johnny yes papa … eating sugar no papa, open your mouth ha ha ha. Isn’t this famous old poem “so true” for many of us? Well, sugar cravings can be smartly handled and satisfied by natural effective alternatives, read on to find out.
Indulge in fresh and seasonal fruits:
Eating fruits is not only beneficial for your health, but the natural “fructose” content in fruits satisfy your “sugar cravings” too. Fresh and seasonal fruits like berries, avocado, cherries, pear, apples, grapes, mangoes, bananas, pomegranate, kiwi etc…. are readily available in the market and can be used as fillers/minimeals in diabetes diet plans. Adding fruits to your cornflakes for breakfast can be a great way to replace sugars totally. But remember packed and processed fruits should be avoided as they carry “hidden sugars” which may spike your blood glucose level.
Add Flavour to your meals:
Spices and herbs can do wonders to your diabetes meals. Why stick with the bland and boring taste, spice up your meals. Add a pinch of cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, white pepper, black pepper, red dried chill or chilli flakes etc and have a great tasty meal. This will not only satisfy your taste buds but also keep you away from sugar cravings.
Looking for a drink?
Do you quench your thirst with high sugar aerated drinks? Replace it with low fat milk, fruit juices, coconut water (rich in minerals and antioxidants) or simply water. Quenching your thirst with water is the best way to cut out on sugar and calories. Research hints replacing high sugar drinks and mock tails with non-soda drinks not only help you curb sugar cravings but also helps the extra calories away.
Aroma & beverages
We all love our tea’s and coffees’. Mostly we are recommended by our dieticians to consume it minus the “sugars” but did you know adding aroma to beverages can curb sugar cravings. Scientific studies reveal that adding jasmine leaves or cardamom powder in your tea can curb sugar cravings to a larger extent.
There will be occasions where you will want to pamper yourself, research hints a tiny portion of “dark chocolate” rich with cocoa will not only satisfy your “sugar tooth” but also help you in keeping your sugar cravings under control. Scientific studies also reveal that “Dark chocolate” keeps you away from depression and elevates your mood. You are advised to check with your doctor/dietician about the portion sizes. Exceeding the recommended portion sizes may lead to spiking of blood glucose levels.
American Diabetes Association suggests, eating frequent meals in intervals keeps sugar cravings in control and also helps you in losing the weight. Also eating frequently and keeps your blood glucose levels in control.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below,
Diabetes new Zealand magazine