It is natural for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes to experience anxiety and fear. Slight changes in lifestyle and food habits can help you manage diabetes and lead a normal healthy life. Maintaining a positive attitude will help you go a long way
Understanding how diabetes affects your health
Living with diabetes involves understanding how it can affect your body if not managed properly. People with diabetes must work to control their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol to help prevent the negative effects of diabetes on their eyes, kidneys, nerves, feet, heart, and teeth. Regular checkups can help prevent problems or find them early, when they can be treated and managed, its important to visit your sugar clinic regularly.
Eyes: Diabetes can damage your eyes and is the leading cause of blindness among adults. Controlling your blood sugar can help prevent or delay eye damage, so be sure to have your eyes examined at least once a year.
Kidneys: High blood sugar and high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease. Diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure. Controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure can help prevent or delay kidney disease.
Nerves: Between 60% and 70% of patients with diabetes have nerve damages, mostly in the nerves of the feet and legs. Controlling your blood sugar can help prevent or delay nerve damage and related problems.
Feet: Nerve damage, circulation problems, and infections can cause serious foot problems, which sometimes lead to amputations. However, more than half of these amputations can be prevented with regular checkups.
On a routine basis, remember to:
- Look at your feet every day to see if you have scratches, cracks, cuts, or blisters.
- Keep your feet clean and protected from heat and cold.
- Ask your healthcare provider to look at your feet at least 4 times a year.
Heart: Disease of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease) is the major cause of death in patients with type 2 diabetes. People with TYPE II diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to have heart disease and stroke than people without the disease because diabetes may contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, or both.
Controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels and not smoking can help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Teeth: People with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their teeth and gums. See your dentist twice a year and remind your dentist that you have diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar can help prevent dental problems.
Control Diabetes – Remember A to E
- A A1C Tests and Blood Sugar Monitoring
- B Blood Pressure
- C Cholesterol
- D Diet: Planning for Healthy Eating
- E Exercise: Choosing Your Activity
A1C Tests and Blood Sugar Monitoring
1. Getting the A1C Test:
The A1C test is a standard test that shows the average amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood over the past 2 to 3 months, as well as how well your blood sugar level is being controlled over time. Visit your Sugar Clinic to get A1C test.
It’s important to keep track of A1C on a quarterly basis. Talk to your physician about your A1C targets and work towards achieving them. The recommended A1C target is less than 7%, even if your A1C is higher right now than is recommended; remember that every step toward your A1C target helps reduce your risk of problems associated with diabetes.
2. Monitoring Your Sugar:
Monitoring sugar levels regularly will help in controlling diabetes in a optimal way. Your healthcare team (including your doctor, nurse, diabetes educator, and dietitian) will help you learn the right blood sugar range that is healthy..
- The self-testing methods that is right for you, including how to check your blood using a blood sugar meter.
- How often you should check your blood sugar and at what time of day
Some people check their blood sugar once a day. Others do it 3 or 4 times a day. You may check before and after eating, before bed, and sometimes in the middle of the night. If your blood has too much or too little sugar, you may need a change in your meal plan, exercise plan, or medicine.
3. Understanding Blood Sugar Ranges:
Fasting: A normal blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL. Patients with TYPE II diabetes have a fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or more.
After meals: A normal blood sugar level after a meal is less than 140 mg/dL. Patients with type 2 diabetes have a blood sugar level of more than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal.
When your blood sugar is high (hyperglycemia), you may have these common symptoms: dry mouth, thirst, frequent urination, tiredness, blurred vision, and over time, weight loss without trying. If you have any of these symptoms, test your blood right away.
Reasons for high blood sugar include eating too much, being less active than usual, being sick or under stress, or needing an adjustment in your diabetes medicine. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen when you’re taking medication to keep your blood sugar level near normal. However, this is not a reason to stop trying to control your diabetes just watch carefully for low blood sugar levels.
Low blood sugar is usually caused by eating less or later than usual, being more active than usual, or taking diabetes medicine that is not matched to your needs at that time.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar, which may include feeling nervous, shaky, sweaty, or tired. Symptoms may be mild at first but may worsen quickly if not treated. If you have signs of low blood sugar, test your blood right away. If your blood sugar level is less than 60 mg/dL, eat or drink a carbohydrate immediately, such as 1D 2 cup of juice (4 oz), 3 teaspoons of honey, or 3 to 5 pieces of hard candy. You may need to have a meal or another snack within 30 minutes. Waiting to treat low blood sugar is not safe.
4. To help prevent high and low blood sugar levels:
- Stay as close to your schedule of eating, activity, and medicine as possible.
- Check your blood sugar as directed and share your tracking records with your physician.
- Set goals with your healthcare team for weight, activity, blood sugar level, and A1C level.
- Wear something that lets others know that you have diabetes, such as a necklace or bracelet, in case of an emergency.
- Always carry a carbohydrate (such as hard candy) with you so you can treat a low blood sugar level at anytime.
- Talk to your physican if you frequently experience high or low blood sugar levels. You may need to discuss changes in diet, activity, or diabetes medicine.
A blood pressure reading measures the force of blood as it presses against the inside walls of the blood vessels (arteries).
Blood pressure is written as 2 numbers.
- Systolic blood pressure (top number) is the force when the heart pumps
- Diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) is the force between heart pumps
High blood pressure (hypertension) may not cause symptoms, but over time it damages the heart, other organs, and blood vessels.
High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes your heart work too hard and contributes to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
High blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death among millions across the world.
High blood pressure can result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.
Get your blood pressure checked regularly, and know your target blood pressure. For patients with diabetes, the blood pressure goal is less than 130/80 mmHg.
Your body needs cholesterol (a type of fat) to function properly. It helps your body digest food, produce hormones, and build new cells. However, as with many things in life, too much of a good things can become bad for you over time.
LDL (bad) cholesterol: can damage arteries. When you have TYPE II diabetes, LDL cholesterol is often smaller and denser than normal. It may be especially dangerous to artery walls and often cannot be fully corrected through blood sugar control.
HDL (good) cholesterol: works to clear LDL cholesterol from the blood, helping to keep arteries healthy. When you have TYPE II diabetes, HDL cholesterol levels are often lower than normal. This means that less LDL cholesterol can be cleared from the blood, increasing the risk of artery damage.
Triglycerides: are another type of fat in the blood. Having TYPE II diabetes can lead to elevated triglyceride levels. This helps set the stage for deposits of cholesterol and other materials (plaque) to form, which can be dangerous.
Target Cholesterol for patients with diabetes are:
- HDL cholesterol greater than 40 mg/dL for men HDL cholesterol greater than 50 mg/dL for women.
- LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL. Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL
Diet – Planning for Healthy Eating:
The thought of a diet can feel overwhelming. However, diet is not solely about eating less of the foods you love or losing weight it is also about making some simple lifestyle modifications that you can enjoy and maintain. It may surprise you to find that you can still enjoy many of the foods you currently eat.
Exercise: Choosing your activity:
Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it is especially so if you have diabetes. Regular exercise helps control the amount of sugar in the blood and increases levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. It also burns excess calories and fat to help you achieve optimal weight. However, exercise doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours at the gym or running for miles. It can mean many kinds of physical activity. Choose an activity that you enjoy, or try a new activity!