A patient who loses weight to a normal level and who eats well and exercises may eliminate the need for diabetic medications. This is not really the same as a cure, though, more of a means to control the problem. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult for obese people to lose even modest amounts of weight, and many diabetic medicines lead to a gain in weight.
Do You Have Diabetes?
Millions of people have Diabetes Mellitus, commonly called diabetes. You may be surprised to know that many of these people don’t even know they have it. Diabetes is a serious disease and should not be ignored. If you have it, correct treatment can help you live a long and healthy life.
What Is Diabetes?
If you have diabetes, your body can’t make or use insulin. Insulin helps change sugar into energy to keep you alive.
There are different kinds of diabetes. The main ones are type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is mostly found in children and young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin and you must inject insulin daily.
- urinate often
- be very thirsty
- be very hungry
- lose a lot of weight
- be very tired
- be irritable
- have blurred vision
- have trouble seeing.
Type 2 Diabetes
Most people with diabetes have this form of the disease. Type 2 is usually found in people over 45, who have diabetes in their family, who are overweight, who don’t exercise, and who have cholesterol problems. It is also common in certain racial and ethnic groups (blacks, American Indians, and Hispanics) and in women who had diabetes when they were pregnant. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body cannot make enough insulin or correctly use it. Treatment is diabetes pills and sometimes insulin injections, as well as diet and exercise.
You May Have:
- any of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes
- a lot of infections
- cuts or bruises that heal slowly
- tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- skin, gum, or bladder infections that keep coming back.
Daily monitoring and careful control of blood sugar levels are the most important steps to take for people with diabetes. If not treated, diabetes can cause:
- High blood sugar (which could make you thirsty, tired, lose weight, urinate often, or give you infections that won’t go away)
- Many serious health problems (which could hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart).
Warning: Low Blood Sugar
People with diabetes may develop low blood sugar because their blood has too much insulin or other blood sugar-lowering medication or from not eating enough food. It is important to follow the eating and medication schedule your doctor has prescribed to avoid low blood sugar.
Low blood sugar could make you shaky, dizzy, sweaty, hungry, have a headache, have pale skin color, have sudden mood or behavior changes, have clumsy or jerky movements, have difficulty paying attention, feel confused, or have tingling sensations around the mouth.
Taking Care of Your Diabetes
The best way to take care of your diabetes is to make sure the levels or amount of sugar in your blood are near the normal range. This will make you feel better and help you stay healthy.
Your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood sugar level. To do this, you will need to take a drop of your blood and place it on a special test strip. Then a device, called a blood glucose meter, reads the strip. This device measures the amount of sugar in your blood.
Writing down this level, along with the time and date, will help you see how well your treatment plan is working.
A person’s blood sugar level rises after eating any meal that contains carbohydrates or protein. Table sugar (also called ?sucrose) counts as a carbohydrate. Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin, aspartame (NutraSweet), and sucralose (Splenda), do not count as carbohydrates or fats. They make food taste sweet. But they do not raise blood sugar levels and have little or no calories.
What Else Can You Do?
Eat well-balanced meals. The right amount of healthy food will keep your weight under control and help manage your diabetes.
Your body needs food from the four main food groups every day:
- Fruits and vegetables (oranges, apples, bananas, carrots, and spinach)
- Whole grains, cereals, and bread (wheat, rice, oats, bran, and barley)
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt)
- Meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dried beans, and nuts.
Too much fat and cholesterol in your diet can be very harmful to people with diabetes. Food that is high in fat includes red meat, dairy products (whole milk, cream, cheese, and ice cream), egg yolks, butter, salad dressings, vegetable oils, and many desserts.
Can You Do Anything Else?
Exercise is important for good diabetes control. It usually lowers blood sugar and may help insulin work better. Exercise and a healthy diet can also help you take off extra pounds if you are overweight.
Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. You may need a snack before or during the activity to avoid having low blood sugar while you exercise.