What is Diabetes and how to change your life by managing all types of diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels properly. This happens when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or when the body is unable to use insulin effectively (Type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by allowing glucose to enter cells, where it is used for energy.
When blood sugar levels are too high, it can lead to various complications, such as damage to blood vessels, nerves, and organs. Symptoms of diabetes may include frequent urination, excessive thirst, hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow-healing wounds.
What are the types of diabetes?
There are several types of diabetes, including Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes, and other specific types related to genetic conditions, diseases of the pancreas, or drug-induced diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, the pancreas cannot produce sufficient insulin, a hormone crucial for regulating blood sugar levels. Consequently, individuals with Type 1 diabetes must closely monitor their blood glucose levels and rely on external insulin therapy, usually through injections or insulin pumps, to maintain proper glucose balance. While the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes remains unknown, genetic and environmental factors are believed to contribute to its onset, often occurring during childhood or adolescence.
What are the Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes?
Warning signs of Type 1 diabetes include
- sudden and excessive thirst
- frequent urination
- extreme hunger
- unexplained weight loss
- fatigue or weakness
- irritability or mood changes
- blurry vision, and in severe cases
- diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) symptoms like fruity breath odor
- rapid breathing
- abdominal pain.
Type 1 Diabetes Treatment
Type 1 diabetes treatments involve
- maintaining proper blood sugar levels through insulin therapy,
- blood glucose monitoring
- healthy eating
- regular physical activity
- managing stress.
Insulin therapy can be administered via injections, insulin pens, or insulin pumps, while continuous glucose monitors and fingerstick tests help track blood sugar levels. Regular consultations with healthcare professionals are also essential for managing the condition effectively.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by the body’s inability to effectively use insulin, resulting in insulin resistance and a relative lack of insulin production. This leads to high blood sugar levels, which, if left uncontrolled, can cause long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, and vision problems. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. It can usually be managed with lifestyle modifications, oral medications, and in some cases, insulin therapy.
What are the signs of Type 2 diabetes?
Signs of Type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, constant hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, frequent infections, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, and darkened skin patches (acanthosis nigricans), often around the neck or armpits.
What causes diabetes?
A combination of genetic and environmental factors causes diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, while Type 2 diabetes develops due to insulin resistance and a relative lack of insulin production. Lifestyle factors like obesity, poor diet, and physical inactivity increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
How to manage diabetes?
Diabetes can be managed through lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, regular physical activity, weight control, and insulin injections, and oral medications. Proper management is important to prevent complications and maintain an overall healthy diet
Health diet to help your body manage diabetes
A healthy diet recommended for people with diabetes includes a balanced mix of nutrient-dense foods, focusing on whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Key principles involve:
- Monitoring carbohydrate intake to manage blood sugar levels.
- Consuming high-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.
- Prioritizing lean protein sources such as fish, poultry, tofu, beans, and low-fat dairy.
- Incorporating healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
- Limiting processed foods, sugary snacks, and beverages.
- Staying hydrated by drinking water and avoiding sugary drinks.
- Moderating portion sizes and spacing meals evenly throughout the day.
Working with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is essential to develop an individualized meal plan tailored to personal needs, preferences, and lifestyles.
What are the healthy lifestyles that can help manage diabetes?
Healthy lifestyle choices that can help manage diabetes include:
- Regular physical activity: Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, and include strength training exercises at least twice a week.
- Balanced diet: Follow a nutritious meal plan that emphasizes whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, while monitoring carbohydrate intake.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Weight management helps improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control; work with a healthcare professional to set realistic weight loss goals if needed.
- Proper hydration: Drink water and avoid sugary beverages to maintain optimal hydration and prevent blood sugar spikes.
- Limit alcohol consumption: If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and with a meal to minimize the risk of low blood sugar.
- Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of diabetes complications; seek support and resources to help quit.
- Manage stress: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness to help keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Monitor blood sugar levels: Regularly check blood glucose levels and follow prescribed treatment plans, adjusting as needed in consultation with healthcare professionals.
9. Regular medical check-ups: Schedule regular appointments with your healthcare team to monitor diabetes management and address any concerns promptly.
Why do diabetics need special shoes?
People with diabetes need special shoes because they often experience reduced blood circulation, nerve damage, and a higher risk of foot infections. Proper fitting, supportive, and protective footwear is crucial to prevent injuries and complications like ulcers or amputation. Special shoes for diabetics are designed to reduce the risk of foot complications by providing extra cushioning and support, reducing pressure points, and promoting better circulation.
If you have diabetes, it is important to take care of your feet and wear shoes designed to reduce the risk of complications. A podiatrist can help you find the right pair of diabetic shoes.
Diabetic shoes are made with extra depth and width to accommodate orthotics and custom insoles, as well as cushioning and support, to reduce pressure on sensitive areas of the feet. They are also designed with breathable materials to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to fungal infections.
Check if you are eligible for diabetic shoes at no cost.