Diabetes or diabetes mellitus refers to a group of metabolic disorders characterized by high blood sugar due to the lack of insulin production in the body or the failure of cells to respond to insulin produced. Common symptoms include polyuria or frequent urination, polydipsia or excessive thirst, and polyphagia or increased hunger.
This condition comes in three main types: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 is caused by the body's inability to produce insulin.
Type 2 is triggered by insulin resistance, when the cells are not able to use properly the insulin produced by the body.
Gestational Diabetes happens in women who have never had diabetes before but experience high blood sugar level during pregnancy.
Other less common forms of diabetes are congenital diabetes, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes, and monogenic diabetes.
All these types of diabetes can be treated with insulin, and type 2 diabetes can also be controlled with the help of diabetes medications. The first two types of diabetes (1 and 2) are chronic and cannot be cured completely. Gestational diabetes typically goes away after delivery.
It is important to seek medical treatment and to manage your condition properly to avoid complications, which include hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, and retinal damage. Manage your condition and control the symptoms with the help of these practical home strategies that any person with diabetes should follow closely.
Blood Sugar Tests
It's very important that you learn to test your blood sugar levels at home. Do this regularly to ensure that you are able to keep your blood sugar at proper levels. There are several ways to do this.
The first is the traditional method that involves pricking the finger with the use of lancet and then putting the blood droplet on a test strip. The strip is to be placed in a meter, which would display blood sugar level.
Other non-traditional testing devices are:
- meters that test alternative sites like upper arm, thumb base and thigh
- laser that can draw blood
- MiniMed Continuous Glucose Monitoring System
GlucoWatch is the least invasive device that allows for continuous sugar monitoring but the Food and Drug Authority advises that the traditional method is still the most effective in yielding accurate results.
The first step in living a healthy lifestyle involves major changes in one's diet. Diabetes diet, medically known as medical nutrition therapy for diabetes, is the ideal diet plan for any person with diabetes.
It is a low calorie, low sugar, and low fat diet that focuses highly on nutritious foods particularly in fruits and vegetables. It requires consumption of healthy carbohydrates that can be found in whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.
It also gears towards high fiber foods, heart healthy fish, and good fats. Good fats, which are unsaturated fats, can be found in avocados, almonds, canola oil, olive oil and pecans. It would be best to avoid foods that are high in cholesterol, trans fat, and of course, sugar. Regular exercise is also necessary to maintain proper body weight needed for effective diabetes management. A 30-minute workout everyday can boost your overall health and improve this condition significantly.