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Diabetes Management: Where do I start?

Indian sweets have a separate fan base across the globe. The wide variety of delicacies are an element of joy for everyone. However, happiness is not all that these sweets bring. Diabetes is a popular and common ailment with prevalence in more than 30 million Indians. Our lifestyle choices and eating habits have a large contribution to the high indecent rates of this condition. The rising figures call for effective measures for the management of diabetes in men and women

Living with diabetes is not as complex once you learn the tactics to keep your blood sugar under control. In this article, Dr Tushar Tayal, best internal medicine specialist explains how the clinical management of diabetes is done. 

Before we start learning diabetes management tips and tricks, let us grasp an overview of what this condition is all about. 

All about diabetes management 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is a condition that causes the sugar levels in your blood to rise. It is medically referred to as diabetes mellitus. 

The food (sugar) we eat is converted into energy which is used by our body for functioning. The hormone insulin is used for transferring and storage of sugar. When the mechanism of our body fails to utilise or produce sufficient insulin, we develop diabetes. 

There are several types of diabetes, including:

How can I manage diabetes – management of Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic condition with several complications. Uncontrolled levels of blood sugar can lead to cardiac diseases, stroke, hearing loss, foot damage, dementia, depression among other conditions. 

For everyday functioning and wellness and to avoid diabetes complications, it is important for a diabetic patient to keep his/her sugar levels checked and under control.

Though diabetes has no cure, it can be efficiently managed through the course of life. Here are some diabetes management tips you can practice to make sure that your diabetes does not aggravate and remains within the recommended range:

Diet 

Managing diabetes with diet and exercise are the starting steps. The primary dietary amendment you need to make with diabetes is to limit the intake of sweetened foods. You may need to completely avoid certain foods and beverages such as sweet bakery products and carbonated drinks. You can, however, compensate for these high-calorie and low-nutrient products by replacing them with juices and healthy snacks. 

It is critical to check what you eat and how much you eat when you have diabetes. You should maintain a track of which foods are not healthy for you. The key is to maintain your intake of carbohydrates. High levels of carbohydrates can directly increase your blood sugar. You must make sure to eat all nutrients including carbs in moderation. 

You should plan your meal in accordance with your sugar levels. Eating small portions of foods several times throughout the day can keep your health better. Dietary management of diabetes does not broadly restrict your choices. 

Make sure to eat portions of fruits and vegetables regularly. You should choose fibrous foods and eat a good mix of starches, proteins and fats. Eating too little and eating too much, both have enormous disadvantages. It is important to take your medicines regularly along with moderate food intake. 

Exercise

Living with diabetes can put additional emphasis on the need to exercise. Regular physical movement allows your muscles to use insulin effectively from the blood. The effect of exercise on insulin depends on how long you exercise. Exercising without a proper plan may not be very beneficial if you have diabetes. You should talk to your healthcare provider or trainer to help design a suitable exercise regime. 

You need not exercise each day if you are not highly motivated or able. Exercising for 30-40 minutes most days (4-5 days) of the week is enough to keep your sugar levels in control. Simultaneously, you should keep a track of how your blood sugar changes before, during and after exercise. 

You should also make sure to keep yourself hydrated to utilise maximum benefits of working out. Sometimes, eating a snack prior to exercise is also useful. You should consult your healthcare provider and do what is best for you. 

Medication 

While managing diabetes with diet and exercise are essential, we cannot ignore the importance of medication. Diabetes is a chronic illness with no cure. It is evident that regular medication and a diabetes management plan to keep your sugar levels appropriate. Along with diet and exercise, following your medicine routine is vital for the management of diabetes

There are specific medicines designed to keep blood sugar levels in moderation throughout the day. You should not skip your diabetes medication or stop them without consulting your doctor. 

Over time, your body’s response to the medicines may change. It is important to routinely check your blood sugar levels and go for regular follow-ups. In case of gestational diabetes, your healthcare provider may work with your obstetrician to make the correct plan. 

Overall health 

Another underlying health condition or an illness can alter your blood sugar levels. Being affected by an illness while living with diabetes can negatively affect your overall wellbeing. You should aim to follow all precautionary measures and keep illness at bay. 

It is critical to stick to your meal plan to avoid complications. If you fall ill, you should immediately consult your healthcare provider for clinical support. 

Lifestyle choices

Whether you have diabetes or not, drinking and smoking can harm your health. It is best to avoid smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. Smoking can narrow your blood vessels disrupting the flow of blood and increasing the chances of diabetes complications. 

Blood sugar levels can drop significantly due to alcohol consumption. However, you can still do social drinking, in moderation and if your diabetes is already under control. It is advised that you recommend your doctor about the amount of alcohol safe for you. You should avoid drinking on an empty stomach. 

Stress, besides drinking, can also alter your blood sugar levels. High-stress levels release such hormones in your body that promote a rise in blood sugar. You should make sure to stay out of stressful situations. You should meditate or learn relaxation techniques to calm your mind. Diabetes and hypertension go hand in hand. These lifestyle measures can also help you in keeping your blood pressure under control

The concluding note 

Diabetes management is not a one time task. Since it is a chronic illness, you need to practice the above-given tips every day. Your way of living needs to be designed according to your blood sugar levels. You should regularly monitor your glucose levels. 

You can book an appointment with Dr Tushar Tayal to formulate your personalised diabetes management program. Visit the CK Birla Hospital for more information. 

FAQs

Ques: Can I treat diabetes completely?

Ans: Unfortunately, diabetes cannot be cured but only managed. Lifestyle measures and medicinal treatment can help in treating diabetes consistently. 

Ques: What type of foods should I eat to manage diabetes?

Ans: Good food choices for diabetic patients include fatty fish, leafy greens, avocados, eggs, beans, yogurt, broccoli, olive oil, flaxseeds and nuts. 

Ques: How does blood pressure affect diabetes?

Ans: Diabetes can lead to stiffening and narrowing of blood vessels leading to an increase in blood pressure. 

Ques: Can I control diabetes without medication?

Ans: It is possible to control diabetes only with lifestyle modifications. However, the healthcare provider decides the best treatment for you based on your blood sugar levels. 

Dr Tushar Tayal
Author: Dr Tushar Tayal
With more than 14 years of experience, Dr Tushar Tayal is an Internal Medicine specialist and Intensivist/Critical care specialist. His expertise lies in managing patients with infectious diseases, diabetes, thyroid disorders, hypertension, respiratory and critical illnesses.
 
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