Managing Life with Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
There are a few different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack. About 10 percent of people with diabetes have this type.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood.
- Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes.
How often to check blood sugar level?
Type 1 diabetes:
Recommend blood sugar testing four to 10 times a day if you have type 1 diabetes. You may need to test:
- Before meals and snacks
- Before and after exercise
- Before bed
- During the night (sometimes)
- More often if you're ill
- More often if you change your daily routine
- More often if you start a new medication
Type 2 diabetes
- If you take insulin to manage type 2 diabetes, recommend blood sugar testing several times a day, depending on the type and amount of insulin you use.
- Testing is usually recommended before meals and at bedtime if you're taking multiple daily injections.
- You may need to test only before breakfast and dinner if you use just an intermediate- or a long-acting insulin.
- If you manage type 2 diabetes with noninsulin medications or with diet and exercise alone, you may not need to test your blood sugar daily.
How to control my sugar intake?
- Manage Carbohydrate intake: Carbs are broken down into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. Reducing carbohydrate intake can help with blood sugar control.
- Increase Fiber intake: Eating plenty of fiber can help with blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber is the most effective such as legumes, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Implement portion control: Focusing on your portion sizes can help you better manage your blood sugar levels. For example, measure and weigh portions, use smaller plates, avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants, read food labels and check the serving sizes, keep a food journal and eat slowly.
- Include Apple Cider Vinegar in diet: It promotes lower fasting blood sugar levels, possibly decreasing its production by the liver or increasing its use by cells. Vinegar significantly influences your body’s response to sugars and can help improve insulin sensitivity.
- Use Sugar Substitutes: Erythritol is an artificial sweetener commonly used in low-sugar and sugar-free foods. It is designed to replace sugar and calories to create “diet-friendly” results
What are the complications of Diabetes?
High blood sugar damages organs and tissues throughout your body. The higher your blood sugar is and the longer you live with it, the greater your risk for complications.
Complications associated with diabetes includes: heart disease, heart attack, stroke, neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy and vision loss, hearing loss, foot damage such as infections and sores that don’t heal, skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections and depression.
**Gestational diabetes: Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to problems that affect both the mother and baby. Complications affecting the baby can include: premature birth, higher-than-normal weight at birth, increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life, low blood sugar, jaundice and stillbirth.