LIVING YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST EVEN WHEN DEALING WITH DIABETES
Diabetes is a disease that has received worldwide recognition and is for a lot of us, something to fear We sometimes erroneously believe that a diabetes diagnosis would signal an end to life as we know it, but this is not the case. For diabetics, there are ways you can manage the disease and still live your life to the fullest.
A quick definition
Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs as a result of the lack of insulin or inactivity of the same in the body. Insulin is the hormone responsible for processing blood sugar and its dysfunction can lead to insufficient or excess blood sugar in the body. This can cause several health complications and affect normal day to day activities as we go on in life. The complications from diabetes can, however, be prevented and diabetes well managed without us becoming dysfunctional in our daily lives.
How to live your best life
Learn about the disease: In dealing with diabetes, half your victory is won when you have adequate knowledge about it. Basically, there are two main types of diabetes; Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs where insulin is not produced in the body and does not occur as a result of any risk behavior. In most cases, it is the result of dysfunction of the pancreas, the organ responsible for the production of insulin. This may be caused as a result of dysfunction of other cells or a genetic disposition to an environment or exposure to anything that triggers such. Type 2 diabetes occurs where the insulin produced is either insufficient or inactive which can be caused by intake of too much sugar than the pancreas can cater for. This can be caused by risk factors like smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, intake of excess alcohol and sugary foods etc. Both types of diabetes can be inherited. There is also another type called gestational diabetes. This occurs in women during pregnancy and is usually self-resolving after delivery. However, it must be effectively managed to prevent development into type 2 diabetes especially after several occurrences. Knowledge of the types of diabetes helps treatment and management.
Insulin medication: Due to its nature, the most important step in managing diabetes is to ensure that there is enough active insulin in the body. This is especially important for type 1 diabetics who require constant doses of insulin several times a day. Type 2 diabetics may also take insulin medications but several others do not necessarily need it. This depends on recommendations given by your doctor or health specialist.
Monitor your blood sugar: Diabetes means your blood sugar is quite unpredictable and requires constant monitoring. This means you will have to keep a constant check to keep your blood sugar at an acceptable level. This can be done constantly by having your own glucometer, a device used to measure blood sugar by using just a little sample of blood. If using the device, it’s compulsory to seek medical advice on how to use it. Checking of blood sugar should be done regularly at several times in a day especially before and after certain activities like eating or exercises. It is recommended that the standard level of blood sugar before meals should be 70-80 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre) before meals and less than 180 mg/dL after meals. However, adequate measurement is the one recommended by your doctor.
Watch what you eat and do: Contrary to the common myth that diabetes stops a person from being able to take anything sugary, a diabetic may eat sugary foods but less frequently to ensure that blood sugar level remains normal. It is required that the diabetic reduces his/her intake of foods and drinks high in sugar, fats, salts, added sugar and fried foods. What you eat has to make your blood sugar level better and not the other way around. Thus, it is suggested that the food intake consists of more fruits, whole grains, vegetables, low fat, and lean protein foods etc. Suggestions on how to do these can come from your doctor. Alcohol is also to be reduced to one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. It should also be taken with food as too much of it can cause low blood sugar. For women with gestational diabetes, it is also important to watch what you eat both for your health and the health of the baby.
Increased physical activity is also important. It is advised that diabetics engage in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities or exercise five days a week to enhance blood sugar function. These activities can include taking long brisk walks, aerobics, strength training, yoga, gardening, climbing the stairs etc. You can find ways to make it more fun. However, it is advisable to discuss what activities to engage in and how with your doctor.
Reach out: Diabetics tend to give up on themselves, with the feeling that their world has just crumbled under them. This is not true. You should reach out to friends, families, and others who can help you in managing your disease and still enjoy the best times with them. You can also join in helping other diabetics by joining a group with them and facing the disease together. With that, you all win together.
Constantly visit your doctor: This has been emphasized severally in this article. You should always keep in touch with medical advice that will help you manage diabetes. This could be with your doctor and other specialists, for example, a dietician. So constantly visit your doctor, or have your doctor constantly visit you, whatever the case may be.
Diabetes is not a death sentence and is definitely not a valid excuse for not living your life to the very fullest. Taking all these steps as it may apply to you will not only ensure that you live your life, but also that you live it at its best, to the fullest.