Living With Diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, first and foremost, know that you are not alone. There are millions of men, women and children, just in the United States, that also live with diabetes every day. Proper care takes professional help, education, patience and vigilance, all of which are important to circumvent organ damage and other serious complications. Glucose, cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood pressure must all be monitored regularly to determine the success of the treatment.

Since vascular health is a primary concern and, in order to minimize the chances of heart attack or strokes, for the smoker, smoking cessation will be a major task to undertake. Medical help is available if the patient is unable to quit smoking on their own.

If the diabetic is overweight, a special weight reduction plan will most likely be prescribed. Often, weight loss alone will lower blood pressure readings and minimize the stress on the blood vessels. 

Since blood glucose levels are too high in diabetics, a special dietary regime must be adhered to stringently. Binging on sugary, fatty foods can be lethal. Complications arise when the prescribed therapy is not followed. Kidney disease, loss of sight, infections and nerve damage are just a few of the problems that may result from a lax attitude toward the overall health plan. Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, may eventually lead to severe, untreatable wounds and possible amputation, especially in the foot area.

A diabetic meal plan does not need to be difficult to follow. The USDA diabetic food pyramid is simple and straightforward. Choose the proper servings daily from each of the food groups: vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, protein/dairy, and fats. Meals should be eaten at regular intervals to reduce the risk of an insulin spike. Preparation methods are important. Just remember that simple is best. Steaming, baking, broiling, boiling and grilling are optimal choices. Fiber seems to improve insulin sensitivity and can easily be found in whole grain products. Become diligent with the number of daily servings allowed. For example, obvious sugary desserts should be avoided, but all carbohydrates quickly convert to sugar, so go easy on the bread and pasta. Also, be aware that many so-called sugar-free products are actually high in carbohydrates.Read the labels.

Any aerobic physical activity is beneficial. It isn’t hard to find ways to move the body. It can, however, be hard to become motivated. Pick exercises that are appealing, such as walking, swimming dancing, and gardening. Work up to at least 30 minutes on most days. For those who already exercise, try to ramp it up a bit. For those not able to workout in this fashion, there are many great exercise tapes that offer a variety of less intense movements that can be used successfully in the comfort and privacy of the home.

Diabetics must become proficient with self-care. Exchanging old habits for new, daily monitoring and often drastic dietary changes will take time, but the benefits lead to a healthy, highly motivated, long life and that is worth any effort.

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