Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition where the body is either unable to produce insulin (Type 1) or insufficient insulin (Type 2). Insulin is a chemical produced by the pancreas to supply nutrients (glucose, fats and proteins) through blood to the cells for energy. When a person becomes diabetic, the cells do not get the nutrients resulting in blood sugar to increase. As glucose blood is filtered by the kidneys, excess sugar enters the urine accompanied by excess water. This is why a diabetic always feels thirsty and shows signs of frequent urination.
Before getting into the tips of managing diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), we know knowledge of the disease is the key to its management. So, let’s discuss about the symptoms of diabetes mellitus.
There are three Ps to look out if a person is suffering from diabetes.
Polyuria- frequent urination; When sugar levels are higher than normal, the body pushes the kidneys to produce excess of urine to release excess glucose.
Polydipsia- increased thirst; since the kidneys are producing excess urine to keep the sugar levels normal, the body gives sign to hydrate. It can be present in children and babies as well and should be at high priority if there are cases of heavy wet nappies or bedwetting. In addition to increase in thirst, the mouth starts to feel dry.
Polyphagia- increased appetite; this happens when the body is not able to supply glucose to the cells.
The 3Ps are caused by the effect of diabetes and is the most classic symptoms to look out in both, Type 1 and Type 2.
It is not easy to live with a condition which restricts your lifestyle but it is not impossible too. Certain steps can be taken for a healthy balance between diabetes and lifestyle.
Diabetes mellitus can be controlled by medication on prescription. Oral drugs are available that helps to increase the insulin level in body but should never be taken without consultation of a doctor.
However, just by taking medicines to control diabetes is not the proper way and won’t give out the best results. Hence, making dietary changes and setting goals for physical activities.
Regular physical activity is not just beneficial for people with diabetes but helps in general. With the increase of people engaged in sedentary activities, achieving body-weight stability has become challenging. Sedentary activities include television watching, playing video games, using mobile phones or computer or any activity which does not have any physical activity involved. A close examination reveals that people engaged in sedentary activities tend to over consume food in the absence of hunger.
Exercising during diabetes can prevent other complications and minimise health risks. Exercise usually reduces the blood sugar level and helps the glucose level in the normal range. However, if blood glucose is lower than normal range then exercising can result in hypoglycaemia. Therefore, the insulin and food intake must be taken in consideration to the duration and intensity of physical activity.
In this time where people often complain about lack of time, here are few ways you can keep yourself physically active.
Start setting goals to be more active in a week. Initially, you can start with 3 days a week with 10 minutes walking.
Do something while watching television, texting, or using a phone or computer; do leg raises or any movement to keep you active.
Indulge in outdoor games with family instead of staying at home.
Take stairs instead of lifts or escalators, walk whenever possible.
Get a pedometer or fitness band to keep a track of your physical activity.
Sometimes, meet your friends in the park instead of any food joints and go out for long walks.
Office workers tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle than others. Moreover, they complain of having no time for going to gym or particularly take out time for any intensive workouts. Here are few tips which will help office workers to stay active during their working hours
Try to go up to co-workers instead of e-mailing or texting them.
Use the restroom which is farther from your work place.
Try to park your car away from the office.
Walk for 10-15 minutes after having lunch.
Join your kids for any outdoor activity instead of letting them sit in front of any electronic devices.
Ask your kids to join a team in school.
Encourage your kid to go cycling.
Apart from academics, engage your kids in any hobbies like dancing, karate, etc.
Eating unhealthy or skipping meals can cause your sugar levels to fluctuate. Moreover, making dietary changes helps you to keep these unusual fluctuations in control. Here are few ways to maintain a healthy diet and nutrition.
Talk to your diabetes educator for a diabetes meal plan.
Drink lots of water instead of juices and aerated soda.
Choose fruits like apple which can alternate as an evening snack.
Make sure your diet includes lots of foods with fiber including lentils, peas, broccoli and sprouts.
Carbohydrate intake can increase the level of sugar in blood. Keeping track of carbohydrates in the food can help you control blood sugar. Therefore, it is better you talk to diabetes educator for planning the carbohydrate intake.
Avoid drinking alcohol.
Unlike many meats, seafood is low in unhealthy cholesterol and saturated fats particularly- salmon, mackerel and tuna.
Increase your intake of garlic as it can help in controlling high blood pressure.
Top 9 foods you can include to manage diabetes
Yogurt- Yogurt contains vitamin D which is very beneficial for bones. Diabetics should add non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and milk in their diet as they have low GI scores; GI of skimmed milk is 32 whereas GI of yogurt is 33.
Tomatoes- Tomatoes contain high level of lycopene which is beneficial to prevent prostate cancer. Moreover, their GI ranking is very low.
Berries- All berries especially blueberries are rich in antioxidants that helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Also, they are rich in Vitamin C and fiber.
Walnuts/Flaxseeds- Walnuts and flaxseeds contain fiber, magnesium and omeg-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are full of Vitamin E, Zinc and proteins. All nuts are low in GI scoring, for example peanuts have a score of 7 and cashews have a score of 27.
Oats- Oatmeal is rich in magnesium, fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Moreover, they keep you full for a longer period of time.
Olive Oil- Olive oil helps in supplying monounsaturated fats and is rich in antioxidants which prevent heart diseases.
Spinach- Spinach is one leafy vegetable which contains magnesium, zinc and potassium. It is particularly rich in Vitamin K. It is proven to manage diabetes.
Cinnamon- Cinnamon is high in chromium which enhances the effect of insulin. They also help in reducing bad cholesterol.
Turmeric- Turmeric has an active ingredient, curcumin which impacts on blood sugar. It directly effects on fat cells, kidney cells and muscle cells. The combined action of all these factors helps in maintaining blood sugar.
The other steps to be taken to manage Type 1 and Type 2 at home are:
Take your medicines on time or whenever you feel good.
Check your feet for any cuts, wounds, blisters and swelling. Talk to your diabetes educator if required.
Keep checking your blood pressure and keep track of it.
Diabetes is a chronic condition which requires on-going counselling. Even though diabetics have to make restrictions in lifestyle, they can too lead a normal and healthy life like non-diabetics. BeatO is a diabetes management organisation which helps manage diabetes by providing diabetes coach who proactively monitor the sugar readings and make dietary and lifestyle changes that are tailor-made for their clients.
Yes, diabetes lives with you throughout your life, but do not let it affect you. By making few changes at home and constant counselling, you would never have to worry about diabetes anymore. Control your diabetes, don’t let diabetes control you!
When sugar levels are not well controlled, foot problems are one of the common complications a person faces. Hence, diabetic foot care is a must to ensure the body remains immune and the secretion of sweat and oil which lubricates the skin is not impaired. A diabetic person has high chances of nerve damages which can result to pain in the feet, tingling or weakness and in the worst case, neuropathy. Therefore, diabetic foot care is always necessary to keep your feet strong and healthy.
What triggers foot discomfort in diabetic foot care?
Though a diabetic person is most likely to face foot related problems, it is not necessary. With proper diabetic foot care, there should never be a need to worry about any foot problems. However, one should know the common causes that can reduce the health of your feet.
Poorly fitting shoes are one major reason for bad diabetic foot care. Shoe shopping for a diabetic person requires close attention to ensure comfort.
If a diabetic person does not keep track of the sugar levels, it can lead to nerve damage. People who have been diabetic for a long time or don’t control their sugar levels can have diabetic foot care problems.
Wearing shoes outside can help you protect your feet but there are risks of getting small cuts and scrapes if the feet are not covered inside the house too.
Delay in treating foot woes
Diabetics who don’t check their feet regularly delay in treating any wounds. Hammer toes, corns or any simple foot woes if not taken seriously can turn infectious within no time. This is one of the main reasons why diabetic foot care should be part of your treatment.
One of the easy ways to catch foot infection is not keeping the feet dry. When skin is wet, it breaks down easily and is prone to infections.
Smoking effects the entire body and definitely not in a good way. The nicotine in a cigarette deprives the feet to get oxygen rich blood that keeps them healthy.
Why should you think of diabetic foot care?
People who don’t follow a proper diabetic foot care face the dire consequences and end up regretting in the long run. The effects of bad health care of feet are dangerous.
A break in the skin, redness or swelling on the foot is due to poor fitting shoes. Minor cuts or wounds are usually not to be concerned of unlike, in diabetes. Neglecting these minor wounds can be really harmful and can invite infections which will ignite further complications. This is why diabetic foot care is important.
Athlete’s foot usually begins with peeled, cracked or flaking of skin which progresses to crusted blisters or oozing. This mainly happens due to moist feet and is important to treat early to avoid the bacteria to enter the skin or nails as it can act as an obstacle in diabetic foot care.
Well, this fungal infection is also caused by the same fungus which is behind athlete’s foot. However, this cannot be easily rid of as improper diabetic foot care can be dangerous. This infection leads to darkening of nails also making them thick, cracked or crumbling.
A serious condition where the bones get weakened enough to get fractured and continuous walking can even result in foot to change shape. The nerve damage prevents the oxygen rich blood to reach the bones which lessens the ability to feel pain, heat and cold. This can completely be prevented by proper diabetic foot care.
Diabetes effect the sweat secretion which lubricates the skin of the feet. The skin might feel dry and peel off. This may urge to moisten the feet by applying oils or creams which only ignites the infection and be . This is why diabetic foot care is a must.
As mentioned, diabetes effects the circulation of blood causing the blood vessels to narrow and harden and can act as a hindrance in diabetic foot care. This can increase the risks of heart attacks or stroke for a person who does not follow diabetic foot care tips.
As diabetes reduces the blood flow to the feet, the chances of a diabetic are more likely to get their foot or leg amputated than a non-diabetic person. This is majorly because diabetics are more prone to Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and can be prevented through early diabetic foot care.
Elevated sugar levels lessen the capability of sense to feel pain. The nerve damage by diabetes causes this effect which is known as Neuropathy. This condition causes weakness, numbness and pain especially in hands and feet and affect diabetic foot care.
What should you look out for?
Though diabetic foot care is a need for healthy life of feet, many of them turn blind eye to the signs. What they don’t realise is the importance of early diagnosis. If detected early, one can reduce the complications of diabetes. The signs are shown more at night, and includes
Sharp pain or cramps
Increase in sensitivity.
A tingling/burning sensation
Lessening of ability to feel pain
Loss of balance
Regular and foot woes such as ulcers, bone and joint pain
Numb feeling in the feet
A cut or wound which does not seem to be healing
Any change in the regular activities like digestion, urination, etc.
These signs or symptoms don’t always indicate nerve damage but they might be signals for some serious medical condition which should be concerned. These signs can also mean that the diabetic foot care is not proper.
What can you do for diabetic foot care?
Though every serious condition requires medication, there are certain steps which you can take to prevent complications and have a proper diabetic foot care.
Do not take diabetes only as a sugar related problem. Since it can affect the nerves easily and quickly, checking your feetat least twice a day should be part of your diabetic foot care plan. Do not take any small cuts or wounds lightly.
Since diabetic people are likely to not able to sense any pain, it is better to avoid hot tubs. Or else, check the water temperature with your elbow before getting into the tub. This is important in diabetic foot care as burns take time to heal.
Invest enough time in buying the correct pair of shoes. This is one of the key ways to have a proper diabetic foot care. It is better to use prescription shoes or shoe inserts to avoid pain in the feet. Similarly, it is better to buy socks without seams, preferably made of cotton or any fabric that controls moisture.
Do not go barefoot. Walking outside or inside without shoes can invite infections and worsen the situation if you are under diabetic foot care.
Always trim your toenails with a safety nail clipper. If you have difficulty with vision, take help from any family member but do not take this step lightly as trimming toenails is part of diabetic foot care.
Remove any items that you are likely to bump into. Keep the pathways clutter free at night.
Always try to keep your skin dry. As stated, moist feet draws infections and does not help in diabetic foot care. Wash your feet regularly and remove sweaty socks or shoes after coming from outside.
Using moisturizers should be part of diabetic foot care but avoid applying between toes as it can moisten the feet and break the skin easily.
People with diabetes must go easy on feet especially if you have neuropathy. Exercises that don’t put pressure on feet are recommended in proper diabetic foot care.
Quit smoking, even though it seems as a very small step but can do wonders by adding it in your diabetic foot care plan.
Control the sugar levels. Even though controlling sugar levels is necessary, it is very important in diabetic foot care. Diabetic patients tend to forget that only by taking medication they can’t control sugar levels. There is a need to bring a change in the lifestyle and adapt to healthy food. However, it is not as easy it seems. BeatO is a diabetes management company which assures to control sugar levels by natural ways. They help you connect with diabetics educators who excel in this area and are just a call away. They also conduct regular foot examinations which help to analyse the condition and its severity and provide tailor-made diabetic foot care plans.
In short, the best diabetic foot care is IPPC( Inspect, Protect, Prevent, Consult). With a little extra care, give your feet a treat for life. And we wish, your feet takes you wherever your heart wants to go.
What is Gestational Diabetes? Often women without any previous history of diabetes experience high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. This phase is clinically termed…
You were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when you were 17 Years of age. Today you are married and a pregnant. What if you were to go back in time, what message do you want to give the 17 year old you?
When I was 17 I was not only about to finish school and go to University but I was going to be able to legally drink alcohol and be an adult, making adult choices. So when I was diagnosed I felt like my world had come crashing down around me. All the frivolity and spontaneity of life seemed to dissipate before my eyes. However, now that I am nearly 29 and looking back, I wish I could have told myself that everything would be ok and work out, that I’d find an inner strength that I never knew I’d be able to have and that life is way too precious not to be taken with care and consideration.
As a pregnant mother and managing Type 1 diabetes, would you like to share the challenges you face daily?
Managing T1D is a full time job in itself, there are lots of challenges with being pregnant and having to balance the disease, but I try not to let them hinder my confidence and belief that everything will be ok. There are so many awful articles and websites out there to scaremonger diabetics (t1, t2 and gestational), but we all know the risk we carry and what will happen by having too many highs, so I try and just read the positives, as a healthy mind is also very important when pregnant. Some of the challenges I have faced so far have been:
•Hyperemesis Gravidarum: this was severe morning, noon and night sickness for the first 3.5 months of pregnancy. I was sick up to 40 times a day and it left me unable to eat or drink. Because of this I got high ketones (unrelated to diabetes and high blood glucose), my sugars were always hypo and I ended up in hospital a lot needing to be rehydrated and given anti sickness medication.
•Occasional high / low blood sugars and insulin resistance is also something I have experienced whilst pregnant but as I check my sugars so regularly I have never been high for long. For the majority of my pregnancy I have been mostly hypo and my HBA1C has been 4.0% which is too low! Fortunately hypos’ don’t affect the baby, but of course they are dangerous to the mother, so I am never far from a bottle of apple juice.
I haven’t found this yet, but have been told that insulin resistance is likely as the weeks progress and the baby gets bigger, so I might find that I start taking a lot more insulin. This doesn’t bother me at all, I just want to make sure that the baby’s safe!
Pre conception counselling is mandatory for all couples planning to conceive. Did you take the session before planning a baby?
Our pregnancy wasn’t entirely planned, but I had started taking the right steps in order to conceive, including talking to my endocrinologist and a gynaecologist. I was taking a high dose of folic acid, a preconception vitamin and I was following a low carb, high fat diet so that my sugars were good, my hba1c was 6.0% and I was in good health.
What insights were offered during your preconception counselling?
I didn’t have counselling, but my endocrinologist talked through them importance of having a healthy HBA1C, taking folic acid and being in good general health. I had my eyes checked and my kidneys checked. Being T1D pregnancy itself can’t really go unplanned, even though we hadn’t planned it to a T we had talked about it, I was in good control and I had had a full medical check so I knew that if I was to become pregnant then at least I was in a good place.
Insulin and Pregnancy. Many women fear the needle. A message for them.
I wear an insulin pump now, but for 7 years I also injected. Of course, putting anything in to your body is scary at first, but you are doing it for the health of you and your beautiful baby, and nothing is more precious than life itself. Try not to be scared, I find that taking a calm approach, pinching the skin gently and using a very short needle is the best way to avoid any pain or bruising.
How are you coping with cravings and pregnancy? Does it effect your blood glucose levels and let us have some tips to manage the same?
I am taking a very healthy approach to pregnancy, I don’t over indulge and I have been lucky not to have any cravings so far. I am not eating any more then I usually do and I’m checking my glucose levels very regularly just in case. For me eating a low carb diet really helps me to control my sugars, if I really do feel like something carby though I will be sensible and just have one tablespoon of rice or one piece of toast. I am trying to stay well balanced with lots of protein, green leafy vegetables, full fat dairy and nuts / seeds and fresh berries. There are so many lists about what you can and can’t eat but women haven been having babies for centuries without these lists so as long as you are sensible and take a healthy approach to what you put in your body then I don’t think there’s any reason to panic.
When socialising, how do you keep track of your blood glucose levels?
I check a lot! I spent way too many years hiding from the fact I had diabetes and pretending I was “normal” and could do exactly what every one else did. I carry my meter with me wherever I go and am not adverse to just pulling it out and checking. If people have a problem with that then they can look away, but I have never experienced anything but kindness and concern. Checking your blood sugar whilst pregnant is mandatory and the more you can do it the more you know your numbers are ok!
During pregnancy hypoglycaemia is a concern. Can you give some simple tips for other would be moms with diabetes?
Hypoglycaemia is inevitable whilst pregnant as you will find you go through periods of being very sensitive to insulin. I check very regularly though and find that this helps me to keep on top of my blood sugar going too low. I always carry juice boxes with me wherever I go and I will have my alarm on twice during the night (annoying, but for me mandatory) to check that sugars are ok.
What helps you stay grounded, calm and manage stress?
Yoga and lavender! I spray lavender on my pillow, have lavender oil in my bath and I carry a bag of dried lavender to sniff. I do yoga twice a week, which is a mixture of meditation and stretching, this helps me to refocus and relax solidly for an hour. My husband also helps me stay grounded as he’s there as a sounding board for any questions or anxieties I have. I also find a walk in the countryside helps to clear my mind, boost endorphins and keep my blood sugars stable.
Five things you never leave the house without.
•Blood sugar meter (which includes test strips, insulin, a new pump etc).
•Juice box (usually 2 or three, just in case).
•A card to say I am a Type One Diabetic and insulin dependent.
•My note book. I love keeping a diary of how I am feeling, any new recipe ideas I have and anything strange symptoms I’m feeling to ask my dr.
Who or what gives you strength?
My husband and my parents. They have been my rocks through this pregnancy and I definitely wouldn’t have got through it without them.
Will you think of having additional children?
So long as my health remains stable and the rest of my current pregnancy goes smoothly then I would love to have one or two more children. But for now I am just focusing on this moment and giving this baby the very best start in life. I am so excited!