It’s no surprise that diabetes is one of the most common causes of death with the associated complications. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.5 million people died due to diabetes in 2019, making it the tenth largest cause of mortality. But advancement in diabetes has also helped researchers to study the advanced methods to deal with this condition. This article gives guidance on handling diabetes, and its management, including how to eat properly and stay active.
Diabetes is a disorder in which the body’s capacity to create or respond to the hormone insulin fails, resulting in excess glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that facilitates the uptake and processing of glucose by muscle, fat, and other cell types. Cells cannot properly use or store glucose, harming the body. People don’t get diabetes all of a sudden. Almost everyone who develops type 2 diabetes initially has prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are increased but not high enough to be considered diabetes. To learn more about what its types are and what complications it can bring. Check out our article on the thread right here.
How to Manage Diabetes?
The primary objective of diabetes management is to maintain consistently normal blood glucose levels. The risk of diabetes complications is significantly reduced in clinical investigations when this standard is maintained for extended durations.
Effective diabetes management and treatment plans demand that a skilled health care team be included. Your doctor or healthcare expert can help you establish a plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. Other healthcare team members that can also help you in this journey are,
- Your doctor
- Diabetes specialist (endocrinologist)
- Podiatrist (doctor for foot disorders)
- Eye specialist (ophthalmologist)
- Your dentist
You may effectively control your diabetes by concentrating on the strategies below and working closely with your doctor.
1. Know Your ABCs.
You can do better diabetes management if you thoroughly understand the disease and how you were diagnosed with it. You might want to list questions or issues you want to discuss with your doctor or other health care provider before you go in. Discuss the best ways to control your ABCs for proper diabetes management,
- A1C– You must track your blood sugar levels. Don’t let those figures rise. High blood sugar harms the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes. The target A1C level for many diabetics is below 7
- Blood pressure– High blood pressure strains the heart and can cause heart attacks, strokes, and kidney and eye damage. Most diabetics should have blood pressure below 140/90.
- Cholesterol– There are two types of cholesterol; LDL or “bad” cholesterol can accumulate and obstruct arteries. It can lead to heart attacks and strokes. HDL or “good” cholesterol aids in the elimination of “bad” cholesterol from blood vessels. Ask your doctor what your ideal cholesterol levels are. You may have goals that are very different from those of others. But as a general rule, the following can be considered,
|• LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, under 100 mg/dl|
|• Triglycerides, under 150 mg/dl|
|• HDL (“good”) cholesterol for men, above 40 mg/dl|
|•HDL (“good”) cholesterol for women, above 50 mg/dl|
The first step for better coping and diabetes management is to discuss these with your health care team members. To keep track of your progress, make notes. Your risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes-related complication can be reduced.
2. Dietary Habits
Diabetics must be aware of how diet affects their blood sugar levels. It’s not just the food you eat but also how much you eat and the meal combos you consume. These dietary adjustments are generally oriented toward consuming nutritious meals and obtaining (and keeping) a healthy weight to manage diabetes.
- Measuring the Portion Sizes: Carbohydrates have the most significant influence on blood sugar levels. It is possible to manage diabetes and blood sugar levels using carbohydrate counting or carb counting. Learning to measure carbs according to your insulin dosage is essential in many diabetes management plans. Write down common food quantities to simplify meal planning. Measure portions and carbohydrate count with measuring cups or a scale. For patients with diabetes, the recommended daily carbohydrate intake ranges from 30 to 45 grams (g) for women and 45 to 60 g (g) for males.
- Balance meals and Medications: A dangerously low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) can occur if you eat too little food with your diabetes medicines, particularly insulin. Overeating might raise your blood sugar levels dangerously (hyperglycemia). Make an appointment with your diabetes care team to discuss managing meals and medication times. Good meal plans reflect your objectives, tastes, lifestyle, and medications.
- Keep a low Hand on Sugar: Beverages with added sugar are often rich in calories and low in nutrients. If you have diabetes, you should avoid sugary drinks since they raise blood sugar levels quickly. Only take it when you have hypoglycemia. The only exception is if you have a low blood sugar level, as sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks, can be used to effectively cure low blood sugar levels.
- Diets: Generally, a range of food habits (low fat, low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, vegetarian) are suitable. Eating a nutritious diet that involves many things you like will make it simpler to stick to your plan. However, you should talk to your health care professional before adopting any diet that requires extreme restriction (such as an extremely low carb or “keto” diet). Depending on your condition, some diets may not be suggested.
3. Routine checkups for Diabetics.
The National Institute of Diabetic and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommends the following routine checkups for people with diabetes.
- On each visit, you must have a review of a self-care plan, a foot check, blood pressure, and weight check.
- Twice a year: get your A1c test if your previous reading was above 7.
- Once a year: cholesterol test, foot examination, dental exam for teeth and gums evaluation, dilated eye examination to detect eye issues, flu shot, and urine and blood test to detect renal disease.
- Get at least once in your lifetime: a pneumonia and hepatitis shot.
Other tests include an annual lipid profile, liver function test, spot urine albumin to creatinine ratio, serum creatinine, GFR, and TSH should also be performed. If past findings were abnormal, these tests might be administered more regularly.
4. Food for Diabetes.
Healthy eating for people with diabetes means choosing foods that are high in nutrients but low in fat and calories. Fruits, vegetables, and entire grains are essential. Eating a range of nutritious meals from all food categories in the proportions specified by your meal plan is essential for diabetes management.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes are non-starchy vegetables; white potatoes, maize, and green peas are starchy.
- Fruits—Oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes should be included.
- Grains—All your daily grains should be whole grains such as oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa. Bread, spaghetti, cereal, and tortillas are some of the most often consumed foods.
- Protein —lean meat, chicken, or turkey without the skin, fish, or eggs. nuts and peanuts
- Dairy—nonfat or low fat- milk or lactose-free milk, yogurt, and cheese.
There are certain meal times for efficient diabetes management. Some diabetics must have food at around the same time each day. Others have greater flexibility about the timing of their meals. Depending on your diabetes medications or kind of insulin, you may be required to consume the same amount of carbs each day at the same time. Taking “mealtime” insulin can make you more flexible with your eating schedule. To have a deep insight into more diabetes-friendly foods and their consumption, read our dedicated article Here.
5. Insulin & Oral Medications.
Medications for diabetes can be taken orally in tablet form in many different categories. Medicines all have their advantages and disadvantages. It is up to your doctor to choose which medication is most appropriate for your effective diabetes management.
Insulin: There are several insulin formulations for diabetes. If you require insulin, your healthcare team will explain the various varieties and if they are to be coupled with oral drugs. Following is a concise overview of insulin kinds.
- Rapid Acting: Pre-meal use of these insulins is recommended, and they peak at one hour and work for two to four hours afterward.
- Short Acting: These types of insulin take around 30 minutes to reach the bloodstream, attain their peak effects in two to three hours, and have three to six hours.
- Long Acting: These insulins maintain constant blood sugar levels throughout the day. Typically, these insulins last around 18 hours.
- Intermediate Acting: These insulins enter the bloodstream within two to four hours, peak during four to twelve hours, and are effective for up to eighteen hours.
There are many methods to administer insulin; your doctor will recommend a delivery system depending on your desire, lifestyle, and insulin needs. Standard methods include insulin syringes, pumps, insulin pens, and inhalers.
Oral Medications: The Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to more than 40 drugs for diabetes treatment. For now, we’ll focus on the most common medication types, how they function, and a few examples of each. Your healthcare team will determine whether or not you should take medicine.
- Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors: This medication reduces glucose levels by reducing the absorption of simple carbohydrates by the stomach. Their primary adverse effect is gastrointestinal discomfort, which includes bloating and gas. Examples are Acarbose and miglitol.
- Biguanides: These medications lower the amount of glucose produced by the liver. Additionally, it increases the function of insulin in the body and delays the conversion of carbs into sugar. Metformin is the most commonly prescribed medicine in this category. They might cause stomach irritation and worsen renal issues.
- Bile-acid Sequestrants: These medications reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The most popular of these medications is colesevelam. Nausea and constipation are potential adverse effects. Blood cholesterol levels should be examined when a bile acid sequestrant is used.
- Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 (DPP-4) Inhibitors: These medications stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin after meals while increasing the potent hormone GLP-1. These medications also help to reduce the quantity of glucose the liver produces. Sitagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin, ertugliflozin, and alogliptin are DPP-4 inhibitors. In rare instances, complications may include nausea, vomiting, and pancreatitis.
- Dopamine agonist: Liver glucose production is reduced by taking this medicine. Although the science underlying this is uncertain. Bromocriptine is a popular dopamine agonist. Nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches are all possible adverse effects.
- Sodium-glucose Cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) Inhibitors: These medications function on the kidneys to eliminate glucose from the body via urine. They include canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin. Dehydration and yeast infections are concerns. FDA warns that SGLT2 inhibitors may cause renal, blood-acid, and groin-skin problems.
- Sulfonylureas: By boosting insulin production in the pancreas, these drugs are used in diabetes management. Glipizide, glimepiride, and glyburide are examples of medications in this class.
- Meglitinides: These medications enhance insulin synthesis by the pancreas but have a significantly shorter duration of action than sulfonylureas. They can be used in conjunction with metformin. Repaglinide and nateglinide are examples. Adverse effects include obesity and hypoglycemia.
- Thiazolidinediones: These medications enhance the action of insulin in the body by enabling more glucose to reach the muscles, fat, and liver. Medications of this type include pioglitazone and rosiglitazone. Two possible side effects are fluid retention and an increased risk of bone fractures.
Several oral diabetic treatments may be used in conjunction with insulin or combination to provide optimal blood glucose control. As mentioned earlier, some drugs are available as combo pills containing two medications.
6. Lose Some Weight with Exercise.
According to CDC, if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, decreasing 5 to 10% of your body weight can assist in lowering your blood sugar levels. If you are pre-diabetic and lose this weight, your chance of acquiring diabetes will be reduced by 58%. Even reducing a little weight can improve your overall health; lowering calories can reduce blood sugar even before you lose weight. Exercising is one of the most remarkable ways to lose weight and live a healthy life with diabetes. Your blood sugar levels are lowered as a result of an active lifestyle.
And if you’re not currently engaging, now is the moment. The best way to stay active is to walk or ride a bike. Most days of the week, you should aim to do 30 minutes of vigorous exercise that causes you to sweat and breathe. 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity is the target as per a report on diabetes.org. Increase your activity by establishing small, readily attainable objectives, such as walking for 10 minutes each day and gradually increasing to 30 minutes or more over several weeks. In addition, it reduces the risk of heart disease. It can also aid in weight loss and stress reduction.
Managing Hypoglycemia: If your blood sugar level drops after exercise, consume a snack according to the following suggestions by American Diabetic Association,
|A glucose level of between 51 and 70 mg/dL (2.8 and 3.8 mmol/L)||Eat 10 to 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates, such as 1/2 cup of fruit juice, six to eight hard candies, or three to four glucose tablets.|
|Less than 50 mg/dL (2.7 mmol/L),||Eat 20 to 30 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates.|
|If you can’t check your blood sugar yet, you are experiencing hypoglycemic symptoms like shaking and sweating.||Consume 10 to 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates.|
Oral diabetes medications don’t need to be adjusted for exercise.
7. Non-Insulin Methods for Diabetes.
Everyone with type 2 diabetes doesn’t use insulin. As more and more studies reveal, a healthy diet is essential to avoiding and controlling type 2 diabetes. The influence of other lifestyle variables, such as cigarette smoking, stress, and sleep, is being studied as part of an ongoing study. The research examines the best diet and lifestyle aspects, including smoking, anxiety, and sleep.
- Yoga: Yoga is an ancient Indian psychological, physical, and spiritual exercise routine that has been researched for decades for its role in managing chronic diseases, including hypertension, asthma, obesity, and psychiatric disorder. Yoga has been shown to reduce type 2 diabetes symptoms and complications and can help prevent it. One theory points to tension and relaxation, while another claims that yoga’s noninvasive nature gives good support and common adverse effects to diabetes patients. Daily yoga for 30 to 45 minutes will significantly affect your health and diabetes treatment.
- Meditation: In a study published in June 2014 in the journal Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, researchers found that meditation can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Another research published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand indicated that cortisol levels fell due to meditation from 381.93 to 306.38 nanomoles per liter. A 10-minute meditation reduces stress and controls blood sugar.
- Alcohol: Knowing how alcohol affects your glucose levels is essential. A moderate amount of alcohol is safe for most diabetics. Women have limited to just one alcoholic beverage per day, whereas males are allowed two. Alcohol with a low sugar or carbohydrate content is excellent for diabetics. As long as you avoid sugary juices or syrups, this includes light beers, red and white wines, hard liquor, and low-carb drinks.
- Smoking: When one has to manage diabetes, smoking can make things much more difficult. As you might expect, saying it aloud is much simpler than doing it. Quit smoking and avoid tobacco to reduce complications. Many individuals find that stopping cold turkey is the most effective method. You may find it easier to stop if you progressively reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke daily. Regardless of the approach you pick, your doctor might offer helpful advice. They can also prescribe or recommend nicotine patches or gum.
- Sleep: Sleep might affect the body’s insulin response. Evidence shows that inadequate sleep might adversely influence glucose levels (causing them to be elevated). People who sleep less than seven hours each night regularly have an elevated chance of getting type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes may experience sleeping problems due to obstructive sleep apnea, pain or discomfort, restless legs syndrome, and increased nocturnal urine.
- Managing Stress: Take a moment to think about what helps you relax. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Studies demonstrate that those who identify uncomfortable sentiments about diabetes are better at self-care and to manage diabetes. Stress might result from avoiding bad thoughts and feelings concerning diabetes, such as worrying about what to eat.
8. Modern Treatments
- The use of an artificial pancreas is another diabetes treatment option that is gaining ground. Closed-loop glucose control is a device that uses an external pump and continuous glucose monitoring to administer insulin in one system. The dosage is automatically adjusted based on sensor data using a control algorithm. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2018, researchers found that the artificial pancreas is “effective and safe” for persons with type 1 diabetes.
- Bariatric surgery is an indirect diabetes treatment option. Ideal candidates for such diabetic treatment are obese with BMI above 35 and type 2 diabetics. Much improved blood glucose levels are seen in people who have lost significant weight.
- Immunotherapy is another medication being researched for Type 1 diabetes. Since Type 1 is a disease of the immune system, immunotherapy offers promise as a method to disable the immune system components that cause Type 1 illness.
9. Transplant Options.
Doctors may suggest a transplant if a patient’s diabetes is unmanageable despite medicinal intervention. Pancreas transplantation is feasible in diabetes treatment in this condition. On the other hand, getting an organ transplant necessitates a lifetime of immunosuppressive medication and the attendant discomforts. You may be able to quit using insulin if the transplant goes well. 90% of pancreas transplant patients no longer need insulin shots within a year. A transplanted pancreas that restores standard glucose control can cure diabetes.
A summary of what general options are used for diabetes management.
| ||This kind of diabetes necessitates the daily use of insulin. Insulin production has stopped in your pancreas.|
| ||Treatment options include medication (both for diabetes and for conditions that increase the risk of the disease), insulin, and lifestyle modifications, including reducing weight, adopting healthier eating choices, and exercising more.|
| ||For those with prediabetes, the objective is to prevent them from becoming diabetic in the first place. Treatable risk factors, such as weight loss through a balanced diet and regular exercise, are the focus of treatment (at least five days a week for 30 minutes). Many of the treatments indicated for treating and preventing diabetes are also utilized to prevent it|
| ||A healthy diet and regular exercise may be the first defense in handling diabetes of this kind if your blood sugar levels aren’t too high. There may be a need for medicine and insulin if the target objective is not accomplished or your blood glucose level is high.|
Diabetes can be treated in several ways. Regardless of the kind of diabetes a person has, a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and frequent monitoring are required as undiagnosed and untreated diabetes may cause irreparable damage to your health. Diabetes management and treatment are essential and vary depending on the kind of diabetes one has, how effectively their blood glucose level is controlled, and their other health issues. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it will substantially impact your daily life. But the key is that you don’t have to be defined by your diabetes if you don’t let it dominate your life.