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© 2019 by Brookfield Centre For Lifestyle Medicine.

Living With Diabetes and Managing It Well

June 13, 2015

 

The diagnosis of Diabetes can be a major turning point in the life of anyone affected. Diabetes is a serious disease but you can learn to manage it well and live a long and healthy life.

 

Let me take you back to that moment when you were faced with your doctor, waiting to hear the result of the blood test you were asked to do in order to reach a diagnosis. Were you relaxed? Anxious? Frozen with fear? There's often disbelief, confusion, or rejection of the announcement by the doctor. Quite frankly, if you knew something of the disease, even just a little, you will not have been in fear or felt anxious or helpless. If you had some basic knowledge of the disease and how to manage it, this would have helped you in no small measure and you would have felt less terrified.

 

Knowledge is power. With some knowledge of what to expect, what to do to take care of your Diabetes, you will no longer feel powerless to look after yourself and your Diabetes. You will need to understand, monitor and manage your Diabetes to help you keep well and stay healthy. If you are newly diagnosed with Diabetes or you just want to learn more about controlling the disease for yourself, friend or family member, then I suggest you read on.

 

What is Diabetes? Diabetes occurs when the body is no longer able to take the glucose (sugar) from the food or drinks you have had, and turn it into energy for your body. Insulin is the substance in the body; responsible for the breakdown of glucose (sugar) into energy in the body .There are 3 main types of Diabetes:

 

  • Type 1 Diabetes - In this situation, your body does not make insulin. You will need to take insulin every day to live. This is commoner among children.

  • Type 2 Diabetes - Here, your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take tablets, insulin or both to help control your diabetes. This is commoner in adults and is indeed the commonest of the three types.

  • Gestational Diabetes - This is the type that some women get only during pregnancy. Most times, it goes away after the baby is born. The thing to note here is that even if it goes away, these women and their children have a higher risk of developing diabetes later in life.

Here are 5 steps to help you manage your diabetes for life.

 

Step one: Accept your diagnosis

Step two: Know about your diabetes

Step three: Follow the ABC for care of diabetes

Step four:   Master the art of living with diabetes

Step five:  Adopt a routine care plan to stay healthy.

 

 

Accept your diagnosis:

When you accept your diagnosis, you are able to take positive steps to look after yourself. If you do not accept your diagnosis, you are not likely to bother to know more about the disease, let alone pay attention to the dos and donts of the disease.

 

Know about your diabetes:

It is important that you take your diabetes seriously. Take deliberate steps to learn more about it. Learn where you can go for support eg support groups. If there is none in the area where you live, why dont you start one?

 

What you dont know can actually do you harm.....so much harm. Learn what diabetes is and understand the type of diabetes you have. Ask your health care team lots of questions. Your health care team include the following:

  • Doctor

  • Dentist

  • Dietitian

  • Opthalmologist (eye doctor)

  • Foot doctor

  • Pharmacist

  • Friends and family

  • Nurse practitioner

  • Nurse

  • Social Worker

  • Mental health counsellor

  • Support group diabetes educator

 

Follow the ABC for care of Diabetes:

A for the A1C test (A-one-C)

A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It differs from the blood test you do every day. It is a very good way of monitoring your blood sugar level as it is over several weeks. This gives a better indication of the harmful effects on your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes, if any, done by excessively high levels of sugar over time. The goal for many people is to have a level below 7. This may be different for you, so do ask your doctor what your goal should be.

 

B is for Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels. If yours gets too high, it makes your heart work so much harder and can lead to heart attacks, strokes, damage to your kidneys and your eyes. The goal for your blood pressure should be below 130/80. This is not an absolute figure and may be different for you. Ask your doctor what yours should be. You may need to take tablets to achieve your goal.

 

C is for cholesterol.

There are two kinds of cholesterol: good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). The bad one clogs up your blood vessels and can cause a stroke or heart attack. The bad cholesterol helps to remove bad cholesterol from your blood vessels. Ask your doctor your goal for your levels and work together to achieve your goal. You may need to take tablets to get to your goal.

 

Master the art of living with Diabetes

  • First of all, determine in your mind that you will not allow diabetes to beat you, rather, that you will overcome it and live a healthy, happy life. Do not feel angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed with diabetes. There are certain lifestyle changes you need to make and stick with it. If you have been following our series on this page you will, by now, be conversant with the major lifestyle modifications we have been discussing over the course of time.

  • Stress management: stress can raise your blood sugar. Learn ways to manage your stress effectively.

  • Let's move more: regular exercise is brilliant at stress management, weight loss, improving sleep, better control of cholesterol and sugar in your blood. Set a goal to be more active and stick with it for life.

  • Eat a healthy balanced and nutritive diet.

  • Cast a daily routine on your mind e.g. time to take your tablets, check your feet every day after your bath for cuts or bruises, brush your teeth and floss daily to prevent tooth decay, stop smoking, keep a record of your blood sugar.

Adopt a routine care plan to stay healthy

Make it a point of duty to see your health care team at least twice a year, if all is well. If not, you will require more frequent visits. At each visit, be sure to have the following checks:

  • Blood pressure

  • Weight measurement

  • BMI

  • Foot check

  • Eye examination

  • Review of self-care plan

  • Date of next vaccination

  • All blood and urine tests.

Remember you are the most important member of your health care team. Follow the steps outlined here. Work with your health care team to achieve your goals. Start a support group in your neighborhood with the help of your healthcare team.

 

 

 

 

Make healthy lifestyle choices.

 

Think health. Stay healthy

 

 

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