South Indian food options are often high in Glycemic Index, as most are have rice as their base. However, when eaten in controlled portions at a restaurant is not so hard to choose from for a Diabetes Patient. Here is our take on it.
All food items in this South Indian menu guide are chosen on the basis of being:
Comparatively lower in calories & fat than other food items in the menu
Low GI foods ( Glycemic Index)
Cooked through healthy methods.
High in fiber and protein
Make sure you control your portions and personalize your plate, as per the needs by asking at the restaurant.
Vegetable Upma (Rava /Suji based)
High GI foods can be enjoyed once in a while, if eaten in small portions
Small plain dosa – Without butter and without filling
At the heart of diabetes management is regular monitoring of your sugar levels. Besides checking your HbA1c levels, sugar monitoring with a home use glucometer is a must. You may use a simple glucometer or the newer and more technologically advanced mobile based glucometer. These smartphone glucometers attach via the audio port of your phone and allow you to save your readings, view trends and analyses, set reminders, share readings in addition to other such useful features for diabetics.
For checking your blood sugar at home your diabetic kit must include the following:
Blood glucose test strip as recommended by your glucometer manufacturer
Diabetes test strips are the only recurring cost a person with diabetes needs to incur to continue testing.
Here are some GENERAL TIPS for using test strips:
Never re-use test strips
Do not leave strips in direct sunlight or humidity
Do not bend strips
Always wash hands before using strips to ensure blood glucose levels are not affected by contamination
Always dispose used test strips carefully in a sealed pack
FREQUENCY OF TESTING AND NUMBER OF STRIPS REQUIRED PER MONTH
You must always first ask your doctor or medical practioner for how often you should test. Here are some general guidelines and the average number of strips you will require per month.
Gestational Diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, needs you to be extremely vigilant to ensure health and safety of baby and mom. You may be asked to check your blood glucose as often as 3-4 times a day.
TOTAL NUMBER OF GLUCOMETER STRIPS needed per month = 120
2. Insulin dependant or Type 1 diabetes also requires a diabetic to check sugar levels 3-4 times a day to determine amount of insulin he/she needs.
TOTAL NUMBER OF GLUCOMETER STRIPS needed per month = 120
3. Newly diagnosed diabetics will usually check more often than long time standing diabetics in order to understand how their blood sugar affects their health and how diet and exercise affect their sugar levels. Here you are likely to be checking at least 2-3 times a week.
TOTAL NUMBER OF GLUCOMETER TEST STRIPS needed per month = 12
4. Drug or medication induced diabetes is called secondary diabetes that may occur due to taking certain medication or may be a consequence of having other health conditions. In such cases, a person needs to take extra care and monitor sugar levels as often as 3-4 times a day. Here, diabetes may go away on stopping medication or may be permanent depending on what other health condition the patient has.
TOTAL NUMBER OF GLUCOMETER TEST STRIPS needed per month = 120
5. Long standing Type 2 diabetics usually need to check blood sugar no more than 2-3 times a week. This may vary if your diabetes is uncontrolled, if you are travelling or have an illness or any other medical condition.
TOTAL NUMBER OF GLUCOMETER STRIPS needed per month = 12
One can calculate the cost you will incur based on number of test strips you are likely to use per month.
An individual requires physical activity for overall well-being. However, a person with diabetes needs to work out to keep his sugar levels in the safe range. Gyms are the ideal place for a diabetic person due to the wide range of equipment’s available. However, there are certain aspects to be thought of when a diabetic person plans to gym.
The Benefits of Gym
Since weight gain is one of the major factors for Type 2 Diabetes, exercising should be part of your daily routine. In fact, people already diagnosed with diabetes have controlled their sugar levels by including physical activity in their lives.
Reduces stress and anxiety
It is a fact that sugar levels can be affected due to different emotions. Experiencing different emotions like anger, frustration and fear are common in diabetes. This leads to stress and anxiety causing fluctuations of sugar levels in the body. In fact, it has been found out that HbA1c levels are associated with stress, anxiety and displeasure. Exercising alleviates stress and tension and helps to boost up energy, both physically and emotionally.
Promotes better sleep
According to a research, people who don’t sleep well are likely to develop diabetes or heart complications. Sleep plays an important factor in managing sugar levels. In fact, it causes a spike or decrease in sugar levels. The interesting part is that not only lack of sleep affects the blood sugar; too much sleep can also cause fluctuation in the sugar levels.
Improves insulin sensitivity
Exercising has been known to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. In fact, it is the best method to improve the insulin sensitivity. During exercise, the body burns glycogen, a form of glucose present in the body muscles. The more glycogen is burned, the longer the insulin sensitivity is improved.
To improve the insulin sensitivity, exercising should be regular too. However, also be sure of the physical activities you do to keep yourself active. Different activities affect sugar levels differently. For example, activities such as sprinting can increase the sugar levels at start. However, it comes down if the session is long. By contrast, jogging or brisk walking are likely to decrease sugar levels.
Prevents heart diseases
According to a study, statistically there is no difference between those who were given medications to prevent heart diseases and those who exercised. In fact, people who have suffered with a stroke, physical activity have played a significant role in improving the condition.
The Risks of Joining A Gym
When exercising, diabetics should be extra careful so as to avoid fluctuation in sugar levels. The blood sugar can fluctuate amid, immediately after or even after hours of workout. Therefore, one should know about the various risks involved in joining gym with diabetes.
Hypoglycemia is a condition where the sugar levels are lower than normal. According to the numbers, low blood sugars mean blood glucose level going 70 mg/dl if measuring the whole blood and below 80 mg/dl if measuring plasma glucose.
Longer physical activity usually increases the chances of hypoglycaemia. The blood sugar goes down after a moderate to intense workout session and is often known as the “lag effect” of exercise.
The body uses two sources for energy, sugar and fatty acids. The sugar comes from the blood, liver and muscles and is stored in the form of glycogen. During the initial time, say first 15minutes of workout, most of the sugar for energy comes from the muscles or the blood. After that, most of the glucose comes from the liver. After 30 minutes, the body starts using fatty acids for energy. As a result, exercise depletes the sugar in the body. Even though the body recovers the sugar, it takes around 4-6 hours. The time can go up to 12-14 hours depending on the intensity of the workout.
Even though the former cases are usually common, sometimes the individual can experience hyperglycemia. Your sugar levels tend to increase if your blood sugar was high before workout. As after 30 minutes, the liver starts releasing sugar for energy. However, when the liver starts releasing excess of sugar and the body has too less insulin; your blood sugar levels will rise. In fact, the blood sugar rises if your body is stressed or worked too hard.
Steps you can take to prevent the risks
Always check your blood glucose before working out in the gym to make sure your blood sugar is sufficient and whether you should eat a snack or not.
Limit your workout session to 1-2 per day. Additional sessions can result in hypoglycemia.
Take proper rest on your rest days.
Exercise in gym should be in a time where the body has enough energy for the workout. Therefore, eating a carbohydrate based snack an hour before the exercise.
After your workout session, eat something to replenish the energy that you’ve spent.
In case, you are trying to lose weight you must be careful to ensure you don’t consume more.
Hypoglycemia is associated with physical exertion. Therefore, it is necessary to carry any two of the following in your gym bag:
What exercises should you be doing?
Aerobics is a form of exercise that is continuous and elevates heart rate and breathing. This includes jogging, walking, swimming or cycling. Aim for only 30 minutes of aerobics daily. In case, you find it difficult break it into chunks to feel comfortable. Gyms have aerobic classes for people who want a change in their workout session.
Due to elevated blood levels, the collagen (rubbery stuff that makes the joint move) becomes coated with sugar. This results in formation of sticky nets and losing flexibility. Stretching helps to break up the nets and become flexible. Moreover, stretching also releases dopamine which keeps an individual happy. Stretching is a simple way of improving the blood circulation in the body. This will help in better circulation of insulin to reduce sugar levels. Every gym would have an instructor that can help you for a stretching session.
It is known worldwide that regular yoga can reduce stress, anxiety and even sugar levels. Yoga is a one of the cost-effective keys of diabetes management. Since stress and diabetes go hand in hand, the benefits of yoga in diabetes care is necessary. Not only yoga improves blood pressure levels, it also helps in preventing weight gain which is another factor of Type 2 diabetes. Nowadays, every gym has yoga classes for people who are not able to do aerobics or not use the equipment’s.
Whilst the benefits of exercising have been discussed in various studies, the fluctuation of sugar levels during or post workout should also be considered. Therefore, regular monitoring is necessary for exercising. Moreover, good nutrition, sufficient sleep and relaxation are equally important. Therefore, consult your BeatO diabetes educator for proper nutritional guidance and counselling to manage diabetes.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a hormonal condition which is common amongst woman these days. According to the recent statistics, one in every 10 women is diagnosed with PCOS. Moreover, it affects the metabolism and hormones becoming one of the major causes of infertility.
Since women diagnosed with PCOS are prone to Type 1 diabetes and moreover face difficulties to conceive, it is necessary to know this syndrome in detail.
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
PCOS is a condition which affects the female sex hormones. The female ovaries have follicles which are little, liquid filled sacs that hold eggs. An egg when gets developed and mature is discharged by the follicles to go to the uterus for ovulation. For a lady with PCOS, the follicles group together and form cysts. The eggs get developed yet the grouped follicles don’t break and discharge them.
Thus, ladies with PCOS often have irregular periods or only have it on occasion. Since the eggs are not released, women have a lot of difficulty to conceive.
Symptoms of PCOS
As we discussed what PCOS is and how women diagnosed with the same don’t have regular periods, here are some other classic symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
Abnormality in menstrual cycle
Anywhere between 21 and 35 days is considered to be a normal menstrual cycle. However, the average menstrual cycle is 28 days with one ovulation when eggs are normal.
Again, no period for more than 35 days is another sign of PCOS.
An irregular period cycle is when either the period cycles are eight or less or when the menstrual cycles are longer than 35 days.
Inability to conceive
Since release of eggs by follicles become difficult in PCOS, women experience difficulty in getting pregnant.
The symptoms may differ from person to person. Some may experience heavy and prolonged bleeding and some experience painful menstruation.
Heavy and prolonged bleeding
The ovaries produce progesterone for two weeks after ovulation. By the end of two weeks, the level of progesterone drops and the lining of the uterus start to shed. This is the case in normal periods. If ovulation does not happen, then the ovaries are unable to make progesterone which leads to thickening of the lining of uterus. Moreover, the calls of the lining might become crowded (hyperplasia, a cause of uterine cancer) which can result in heavy bleeding.
When the uterus is unable to produce progesterone, there is an increase in the levels of androgen, including testosterone. This spike in male sex hormones results in increase of male-pattern hair growth and other male characteristics, such as a deep voice.
Increase in waist circumference
Waist circumference is a measure which helps you to identify the risks associated with excess fat around the waist. A waist circumference of 40 inches or more in men and 35 inches or more in women is related to health problems such as Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Acanthosis nigricans is Darkening and thickening of specific parts of the skin, particularly in skin folds of the neck, armpits, and crotch.
Acne, oily skin
Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight
The relationship between PCOS and Diabetes
One of the major problems in the initial stages of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is insulin resistance which happens when the body does not work the way it should. As everyone knows, insulin is an important hormone to control blood sugar levels. When the cell resists insulin, the pancreas then produces more and more insulin to control the sugar levels. It affects the immune system and can trigger Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or pre-diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition which is similar to PCOS as the cells become resistant to insulin or insulin produced is inadequate resulting in spike of sugar levels. Even though Type 2 diabetes is preventable through exercise or proper diet, PCOS in itself is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. High insulin levels decrease the breakdown of fat and stimulate fat storage, fluctuation in blood lipids such as low HDL-C (good cholesterol) and/or high triglycerides In fact, women diagnosed with PCOS in the early stages are later at high risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
The diagnosis of PCOS is in several steps.
The doctor will discuss your detailed medical history of menstrual cycle and reproductive history which includes information about birth control that you adopt and the pregnancies if you have had.
Your doctor then would ask you to get a pelvic exam where they will check if you have swelling of cysts in ovary. If the doctor feels the presence of cysts, they might recommend an ultrasound of the uterus.
If the tests diagnose PCOs, the doctor would suggest the blood sugar to be tested to check hormone levels. Since insulin resistance is one of the effects of PCOS, insulin and glucose levels will also be checked.
Can there be a similar treatment?
Treatment varies from person to person on the basis of diagnosis. However, the major requirement is lifestyle changes.
These generally include following a low fat, high fibre, low glycaemic index, healthy eating plan, giving up smoking and doing regular physical activity which can help with weight management and improve insulin sensitivity. A weight loss of as little as 5% can improve insulin levels, acne, ovulation, fertility, reduce excessive hair growth and improve mental health. These lifestyle changes can also assist with managing other risk factors including high blood lipids, blood pressure and hormone levels. In many women the male hormone levels reduce therefore reducing future risks.
Continuous physical activity is a must to keep the body healthy and fight obesity which is associated with PCOS. Exercising also burns excess blood sugar and makes the cells sensitive to use insulin more effectively. This benefits people with diabetes as well as women with PCOS.
Healthy food habits
A balanced diet that gives whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables is helpful in managing diabetes and overweight. Include low-fat, low GI foods in your diet plan.
Hormonal birth control makes your menstrual cycle more regular and helps control the rising levels of androgens which results in low growth of hair on face and body.
Smoking leads to cardiovascular diseases that can cause blood clots in women who take birth pills. Since PCOS is treated with birth pills, this can become a major problem. In simple way, smoking inversely affects heart, blood and nervous system.
A balanced diet and physical activity can help ease PCOS-related signs. Reducing weight may bring down your blood glucose levels, enhance the way your body utilizes insulin, and help your hormones achieve target levels. Indeed, even a 10% decrease in body weight can help make your menstrual cycle more normal and enhance your chances of getting pregnant.
Get enough sleep. Sleeping helps to restores the body and contributes in weight loss. Six to eight hours of sleep every night can improve you overall health.
Knowledge about the disease
Not only in PCOS, but in every medical condition knowledge of the disease can make you informative about the risks and help you fight them. By knowing the causes and effects of PCOS and insulin resistance, you can know how to prevent them.
Maintaining blood lipids
In PCOS, the decrease of fat breakdown and stimulation of fat storage fluctuates in blood lipids such as low HDL-C (good cholesterol) and/or high triglycerides. As PCOS can result in cardiovascular diseases in later stages, maintaining the blood lipids is important.
Keeping a track of hormone levels
As PCOS affects hormone levels, keeping a track of the hormone levels is necessary. All the hormones especially insulin and thyroid should be checked quarterly if you have PCOS as it is the most affected.
Nevertheless, particular medicines for the two conditions may supplement or balance rehab tips each other.
For instance, medicines like metformin that is proven to improve insulin resistance may be prescribed to women diagnosed with diabetes. However, metformin might also have side effects if not used in conjunction with recommended lifestyle changes
If you have PCOS or diabetes, it is better to consult your doctor or diabetes educator about which treatment options will work best for your particular situation.