Sugar isn’t the be all and end all of diabetes management. Diabetes is a complex condition that needs to be carefully controlled and managed effectively. All this requires is taking a holistic approach to controlling diabetes incorporating diet, exercise, and medication.In this article, we will be discussing type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes as well as type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes is a Metabolic syndrome with varied presentations in high blood sugars. Ideally, Normal Fasting blood sugar (FBS) should be less than 100 mg/dl and postprandial blood sugar (PPBS), less than 140 mg/dl. People with impaired blood sugar have a tendency to develop diabetes where FBS can reach 100 to 126 mg/dl, while PPBS can range from 140 to 200 mg/dl. Diabetes is diagnosed when FBS crosses 126 mg/dl, and PPBS crosses 200 mg/dl in. Other symptoms of diabetes include:
Increased frequency of urination
Fatigue Poor wound healing
Diabetes can occur at any age and now we see an increasing tendency in teenagers & young adults. The cause could be attributed to lifestyle choices and may or may not be hereditary. It is advised that young adults and teenagers should be screened for diabetes as and when possible.
The progression of type 2 diabetes can be prevented through regular and disciplined management of diet and exercise. Diabetes, when not regulated, causes compounds to be deposited in blood vessels and various organs leading to chronic damage to the kidneys, eyes, heart, brain, nerves and limbs. Sugar also attracts organisms that commonly infect the urinary tracts, lungs and feet. High sugar in the blood is expelled through urine along with water, leading to severe dehydration and other complications. When glucose cannot be utilized to produce energy, fat is broken down for energy which also leads to the production of ketone bodies – these are potentially fatal and life-threatening. Diabetes is often linked to its ‘cousins’ i.e. Obesity, Dyslipidemia (increased bad cholesterol), Hypertension, Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD), Thyroid diseases, etc. which worsen the body’s physical condition leading to further health complications and decrease the quality of life.
Diabetes specialists recommend that Diabetes can be effectively managed by implementing minor lifestyle changes, observing dietary discipline and medication. Consumption of fried food, sweets, and red meat should be limited to once every 1.5 months or on festivals. Consuming smaller quantities of food in a timely manner food can be conducive to regulating diet and metabolism. Breakfast should ideally be at 8 am, lunch at 1 pm and dinner 8.30 pm, while light snacks can be consumed at 11 am and 4.30 pm, including more vegetables and at least one fruit per day. Sugary food, pastries, bakery products, deep oil fried snacks should be avoided. Dedicate around 30-60 min /day for physical exercise, which can be cultivated into a daily habit and continued throughout your life. Physical activity can be increased as per individual capacity for activities like walking, jogging, swimming, or other sports. Medication comes into the picture when Diabetes cannot be controlled just by lifestyle changes. There are many medications available (about 20 different oral tablets and 10-12 injectable medications), and doctors play an important role when it comes to monitoring blood sugars, preventing hypoglycemia and other complications, monitoring drug side effects such as stomach upset, vitamin B12 deficiency, loose stools, abdominal bloating, etc.
Non-painful injections with self-injecting devices are now readily available. Previously, insulin needed to be taken a minimum of 15 minutes before consuming food. Now, however, newer short-acting insulin analogues can be taken just before eating food, and long-acting analogues can be taken after. The availability of insulin pen devices has made taking insulin much more convenient and quick. Insulin is required when blood sugar is very high such as in ketoacidosis, pancreatitis, pregnancy, and other stressful conditions like infections, myocardial infarction, surgery, severe trauma etc.
You may assume that if high blood sugar is a bad thing then low blood sugar is a good thing. But this is not the case; low blood sugar or Hypoglycemia can be a severe complication of diabetes medication and needs medical intervention. Blood sugar levels dropping to less than 60 mg/dl is one of the most common complications when sugars fall rapidly from high levels such as when a meal is delayed or missed. The symptoms of hypoglycemia can include intense hunger, sweating, palpitations, seizures, loss of consciousness and even death. For this reason, it is advisable that people with diabetes and their friends and family should learn how to use self-monitoring devices for blood sugar levels such as a glucometer. This will help maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevent any complications. Glucometers are easily available at most health dispensaries as well as on online sites. A bi-annual checkup for kidney and eyes is also highly recommended. When sugars are under control with regular checkups, your quality of life will improve and your health will take a turn for the better. One would need to also control the cousins of diabetes like obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, PCOD and thyroid diseases. Diabetes is not a curse or an endless battle. Prompt and effective lifestyle changes go a long way in controlling this disorder. After all, to control a disorder that affects your whole life, you need to keep your whole life under control.