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.
Injecting insulin is the essential part of the daily regime for many Diabetics patient. Although insulin that can be inhaled is now available and approved, the reality is that most type 1 diabetics (and type 2 diabetics who require insulin) will have to continue injecting insulin until it is more common.
Tips for Injecting Insulin
Injection sites: Insulin should be injected into the layer of fat that lies right under the skin. There are several areas on the body where you can inject your insulin. These include the:
Abdomen (Stomach), a few inches away from belly button
Back of the arms
Painful Injection: Now a day’s super thin needles are available in the market, Insulin injection are pretty much painless, If you are finding that your injection hurt’s, Try the followings;
Use a new needle for every injection. It’s tempting to reuse needles, but they can become dull even after just one or two injections. And the duller the needle, the more painful the injection.
Use the thinnest needle possible. The higher the gauge, the thinner the needle.
Use a short needle (6 mm or shorter).
Inject insulin at room temperature.
If you use alcohol to clean your injection site, make sure it’s completely dry before injecting.
Relax tense muscles make the nerves in the injection area more sensitive.
Larger doses of insulin (30 units or more) may be uncomfortable. If this is a concern, talk with your doctor about splitting your dose.
Rubbing ice on your skin before injecting may also help.
Insulin leaking from injection sites: It’s not unusual for insulin to leak out from the injection site after you withdraw the needle. Usually, the amount that leaks out is insignificant and likely won’t affect your blood sugar levels. To minimize or avoid leakage, try the following:
Count slowly to 10 before withdrawing the needle.
After removing the needle, place your finger on the site for 5–10 seconds.
If you use a pen, always remove the needle after you inject. Leaving the needle on can cause air to enter the cartridge and it will take longer to inject the insulin.
Try injecting at a 45-degree angle rather than going straight in.
Forgetting to take you insulin: Missing even just one injection per week can raise your HbA1c level by 0.5%. How can you remember?
Link taking your insulin with other daily habits, such as eating breakfast or brushing your teeth before you go to bed.
Keep your insulin and supplies in a convenient place. And think about keeping supplies both at home and at work (or school).
Don’t get distracted. Multitasking is never a good idea, especially when it comes to injections. If you’re doing too many things at once, you can easily forget to inject. Focus on the task at hand.
Set an alarm, use sticky notes, ask your spouse to remind you — all can help you to remember.
Fear of Needles: Injection can lead to anxiety and even physical symptoms, such as light-headedness, palpitations, dry mouth, sweating, and feeling sick. Here’s what can be helpful:
Make sure you’re using the shortest, thinnest needle that you can.
An insulin pen may be easier for you to use than a syringe.
Put a cold spoon or an ice cube on the injection site for a few minutes before you inject.
Ask your doctor about using a topical anesthetic, which can numb the surface of the skin.
To read more on Patient Care, click on the link below.
My doctor is insisting on Insulin, what do I need to know ?
Insulin is produced in our body naturally by the pancreatic cells and helps the body in converting sugar into energy. When our body produces insufficient or no insulin then doctors recommend taking Insulin additionally, to ensure body metabolises carbohydrates into sugar, and sugar does not accumulate for a prolonged period of time in the form of blood glucose.
There are myths associated with taking Insulin, read below to find out the most frequently asked questions by people living with diabetes.
I have been asked by my doctor to take Insulin, is my Diabetes getting worse ?
Taking Insulin does not necessarily mean that your Diabetes is getting worse. To control your high blood glucose levels your doctor may prescribe Insulin therapy. By not taking the Insulin therapy you may further develop Diabetes-related complications such as Glaucoma in the eyes and malfunctioning of the kidneys or the liver, neuropathy, foot problems, nerve related issues etc. People with Type 2 Diabetes often use combined therapy of medicine and Insulin to keep their sugar levels in control.
Will injecting Insulin be painful ?
Injecting Insulin is not as painful as you may think. Your doctor will direct you how to inject Insulin in the right way and painlessly. Insulin should be given in the areas where one has more flab and less muscle. There are many new types of syringes which are thinner and painless to use, so this should not be a cause for worry.
Once I begin Insulin, will I have to take it for the rest of my life ?
The answer to this question is different for different types of Diabetes. For people living with Type 1 Diabetes this is true; however, for people with Type 2 Diabetes, studies have shown that taking medication on time, physical exercises and diet control can lead to reversal of the condition. Some people simply do not want to start Insulin because of the fear of having to take it forever. However studies have revealed that once the blood glucose levels are under control, patients have been able to switch back to oral medication and no longer have to depend on Insulin.
Travelling with Insulin is tedious, can I miss my injections ?
Doctors all round the world strongly recommend that people who are Insulin dependent must not miss any injections. If you miss your regular dose, it will disrupt the ground you have gained in Diabetes management and take you back to square one. Your blood sugar levels will shoot up and create an imbalance of toxins in the body, leading to further complications.
It is a good idea to make your own small back-pack where you could keep your syringes, Insulin, cotton, gauze and astringent handy. Insulin has to be kept in a cool place and, hence, sometimes needs to be refrigerated. If you are travelling, check with your pharmacist for new types of Insulin pens and cartridges, which might not need refrigeration.
What I can do as family/friend of a person living on Insulin ?
If your partner has Insulin-dependent Diabetes, we understand that you would have your own set of stresses that can be mentally and physically exhausting. You would need to be able to support your partner in different ways, such as establishing and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, checking your partner for wounds that may be concerning, learning to give Insulin shots correctly and painlessly, as well as routinely check blood glucose levels.
There are quite a few things that you can do to help yourself and your partner. First and foremost, in order to support your partner in living with this condition, you need to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Establish a health plan for yourself, which will keep you in good shape to deal with the stresses that go along with Diabetes. It is even better if you can exercise together. Taking up meditation and yoga is also a very good way to reduce the impact of stress on your body.
You do not need to give up your life and pleasures in order to support your partner. For example, develop a balanced diet plan that takes care of your partner’s nutritional requirements, but do not forget to add your favourite dish to the equation!
Consult with your doctor to plan an evening out, away from the regular routine. Understand and follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to dos and don’ts for eating and drinking on your evening out, and you will be fine.
Make sure to have a backup for yourself. As you support your partner in living with Diabetes, you need not give up your interests. Have family/friends provide you with backup whenever you need to step away for some time. This also takes care of the condition known as “compassion fatigue” in caregivers.
It is also good to have support of other people living with this condition just in case you yourself are under the weather for a couple of days.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below.
Compliance and Checklist for Diabetes by Famhealth
Despite significant modern advances in diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, compliance still remains the most crucial aspect of blood glucose level control. Scientific research in National Institute Health USA, suggests “Poor glycaemic control may be reflected by both the failure of diabetes self-management by patients as well as inadequate intervention strategies by clinicians”. Hence identifying the barriers in compliance and treatment adherence is an equally important aspect for successful diabetes management.
Barriers in compliances may be due to various reasons but as per research the majority of non-compliances in diabetes management could be due to In-adequate information, Cultural differences, Religious beliefs, Family dynamics, Emotional imbalances, and sometimes poor communication skills.
According to the American Diabetes Association, The major compliance regimen for people living with Diabetes includes:
On time Medications:
Medications on time, helps you to maintain a “good control” of blood glucose levels in your body. People living with diabetes are often prescribed multiple medications for diabetes and other co morbid conditions. To ease your medicinal intake you are advised to check with your doctor on the sequence of medicines to be consumed as per priority for e.g. which medications to consume before/after meals. To manage and ensure medicinal compliance you are encouraged to take the help of friends/family/colleagues who can effectively remind you to take your medications on time every time!
Food & Nutrition:
According to Dr. Mona registered dietician from USA says, “Good food is good medicine and bad food is bad medicine”. You are advised to have frequent diabetes friendly meals, to reap the maximum benefits of successful diabetes management. To know more refer to our Food section.
Regimen: Having a daily exercise regime not only helps you to stay fit and healthy, but has also helped so many people in reversing their conditions remarkably! At Famhealth exercising can never get boring! Get to know the new forms and join our community to experience fun “do it with us” exercising modules.
Monitoring blood glucose levels:
Checking your blood glucose levels timely as recommended by your doctor helps to administer the effect of food, medicines and physical activity in your body. It is almost a reflection of how well you are managing your condition. You are encouraged to take help of your partner/family member/caregivers to learn the right ways of monitoring blood glucose levels to ensure diabetes compliance.
Family/friends/caregivers play a vital role in helping a person living with diabetes to overcome all the barriers and come on top their conditions
Check blood sugar levels as often as recommended by your doctor. By checking your blood glucose level, you can know how food, physical activity and medicine affect your blood glucose.
Inspect your feet daily for cuts, injuries, blisters, infection and changes in skin pigmentation.
Inspect your mouth, teeth and gums. People living with diabetes often are prone to periodontal gum diseases, doctors’ advice brushing twice daily and flossing once in a week.
Check for infection, cuts, blisters, or colour changes all over the body including your underarms, groin area, area between toes, etc.
As you may be already aware, people with diabetes must avoid hot water baths as hot baths often lead to wrinkling and blisters in skin.
Keep your supplies close: Make an attractive kit bag and keep all the necessary medications and food items within your reach. Replenish the kit daily to keep your energy elevated, and blood glucose levels normal.
Last but not the least take your medications on time and at least exercise or walk for a minimum 45 minutes daily to regulate blood glucose levels.
Non adherence to the above treatment compliances often leads to frustration in families and also in doctors treating diabetes individuals