You may have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or may have been dealing with it for all of your life. Either way, knowing how to optimally treat and manage your condition is extremely important. Type 2 diabetics do not produce enough insulin to keep their blood glucose levels within a normal range. Insulin helps the body absorb and utilize glucose in the blood by converting it into a consistent form of energy.
Individuals with Type 2 diabetes can’t just snack on whatever they want when they get hungry. They need to know the ingredients of any food they plan to eat as it affects their blood sugar levels. Exercise should be done regularly; a sedentary lifestyle for diabetics can lead to chronic health problems later in life. Skipping or taking the wrong type of medication can have serious, short and long-term consequences for people with Type 2 diabetes. While it is possible for people with Type 2 diabetes to live a normal life, they must try harder than most to achieve a healthy equilibrium.
Type 2 diabetes can cause a number of health complications:
• Heart and blood vessel disease: heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.
• Nerve damage: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. (For men, erectile dysfunction).
• Kidney damage: kidney failure (eventually requires dialysis or a kidney transplant).
• Eye damage: blindness, cataracts, and glaucoma.
• Foot damage:nerve damage, cuts, and blisters can become serious infections (severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation).
• Hearing impairment.
• Skin conditions: bacterial and fungal infections.
• Alzheimer’s disease:Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Below are some of the major do’s and don’ts of diabetes management. Some of you may be familiar with these rules but others may not, so we encourage all diabetes sufferers, old and new, to take a look.
Do Not Eat Without Planning Ahead and Be Informed About What You Eat.
Diet can be everything when trying to properly control and manage your diabetes. It’s important to know how your body reacts to certain types and quantities of food. As a person with Type 2 diabetes, you must be vigilant about what and how much you consume. The amount of food, and how much sugar it contains, will dictate the level of sugar present in your blood. You should be especially aware of carbohydrates and how you spread them out throughout the day. Generally, carbohydrates should provide somewhere between 45 to 60 percent of your daily total calories. Your doctor or registered nutritionist should be able to plan out your consumption to help you properly balance your diet.
Once you are diagnosed with the condition, keeping your weight under control will allow you to better manage your health. The more excess weight and fatty tissue your body has, the harder it is for your body to properly control your blood sugar. Loosing weight, can have a big impact preventing the serious health complications that accompany Type 2 diabetes.
We all have busy lives and sometimes things get in the way of our plans. The hectic pace of modern life makes eating one or two large meals in a day seems like the easy option. For most diabetics, eating 5 to 6 small meals spread evenly throughout the day makes a big difference to their overall health. Smaller meals require less insulin and help to regulate blood glucose levels in a much more even manner. Eating smaller, more frequent meals also helps control hunger and calorie intake, increasing energy levels and helping with weight loss.
Know What Medications You Are On and What The Side Effects Are.
There are a large number of medications on the market that can help you effectively manage your Type 2 diabetes. It is important to know what medications you are on and how they work. Different drugs affect everyone differently. The medication you are taking to manage your condition could affect what foods you are able to consume and how frequently. Medications are often accompanied by a whole set of serious health risks:
• Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors lower blood glucose by assisting the body to break down starchy foods and table sugar.
• Biguanides decrease intestinal glucose absorption and increase insulin sensitivity by deceasing glucose production in the liver.
• DPP-4 Inhibitors help the body produce insulin. They help the body reduce blood glucose without causing hypoglycemia. They also help the pancreas produce more insulin. However, like all medications, it is important to know your individual risk factors. In some cases, severe and sometimes deadly side effects have been reported with this type of medication.
• Glucagon-Like Peptides help increase insulin secretion while at the same time decreasing glucagon. They are also known to reduce appetite and increase B-cell growth, which can help you with weight control.
• Meglitinides lower blood sugar and stimulate insulin release. These must be taken 3 times each day with a meal. The frequent need to take the medication can be a tool diabetics use to keep themselves on a regiment of small meals throughout the day.
• SGLT2 Inhibitors prevent the kidneys from holding on to glucose and promote its excretion through the urine. These medications, however, also have reported health risks that diabetics taking them should understand.
• Sulfonylureas produce more insulin by stimulating the pancreas with beta cells.
• Thiazolidinediones promote insulin efficiency in fat cells while decreasing glucose in the liver. Similar to the DPP-4 Inhibitors they come with their own sets of health risks and side effects and should be taken with caution.
It is important to understand that there is no side-effect free medication. Some side effects can affect you long after you stop taking the medication. Some can lead to lifelong chronic conditions and at times could even be life-threatening. Common side-effects associated with diabetes medications include:
• Pancreatic Cancer
• Thyroid Cancer
• Acute Pancreatitis
• Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis
• Necrotizing Pancreatitis
• Kidney Complications
• Renal Failure
Find out more about complications associated with diabetes medications.
Do Not Let Your Weight Become The Problem: Do Not Become a Couch Potato.
Exercise plays an extremely important role in long-term diabetes management. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can stave off many of the chronic health problems that diabetics face throughout their lives. Exercise helps to maintain:
• Better blood sugar levels
• Maintain and/or lower body weight
• Increase heart health
• Improve blood pressure levels
• Improve cholesterol levels
• Increase energy
• Help you to sleep better
• Improve joint health
Before starting a new exercise regiment, always check with your physician to see if that level of activity or type of exercise is right for you.