Diabetes :: Manage Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus affects more than 16 million Americans. It damages blood vessels, including the coronary arteries of the heart. Up to 75 percent of those with diabetes develop heart and blood vessel diseases. Diabetes also can lead to stroke, kidney failure, and other problems.

Diabetes occurs when the body is not able to use sugar as it should for growth and energy. The body gets sugar when it changes food into glucose (a form of sugar). A hormone called insulin is needed for the glucose to be taken up and used by the body.

Symptoms of diabetes include: increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and blurred vision, hunger, fatigue, frequent infections, and slow healing of wounds or sores.

There are two main types of diabetes: insulin-dependent, or type 1, and noninsulin-dependent, or type 2. Type 1 usually appears suddenly and most commonly in those under age 30. Type 2 diabetes occurs gradually and most often in those over age 40. Up to 95 percent of those with diabetes have type 2. You?re more likely to develop type 2 if you are overweight or obese, especially with extra weight around the middle, over age 40, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of diabetes. Diabetes is particularly prevalent among African Americans, Asians, and Native Americans.

Because of the link with heart disease, it?s important for those with diabetes to prevent or control heart disease and its risk factors. Besides diabetes, major risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, and overweight and obesity.

Fortunately, new research shows that the same steps that reduce the risk of heart disease also lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. And, for those who already have diabetes, those steps, along with taking any prescribed medication, also can delay or prevent the development of complications of diabetes, such as eye disease and nerve damage.

According to the research, a 7 percent loss of body weight and 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week can reduce the chance of developing diabetes by 58 percent in those who are at high risk. The lifestyle changes cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or weight.

To reduce the risk of developing diabetes, as well as heart disease, you should:

– Follow a heart healthy eating plan, which is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in total fat.

– Aim for a healthy weight.

– Be physically active each day – try to do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking on most and, preferably, all days of the week.

– Don?t smoke.

– Prevent or control high blood pressure.

– Prevent or control high blood cholesterol.

If you already have diabetes, you can delay its progression, or prevent or slow the development of heart, blood vessel, and other complications by following the steps given above and these:

– Eat your meals and snacks at around the same times each day.

– Check with your doctor about physical activities that are best for you.

– Take your diabetes medicine at the same times each day.

– Check your blood sugar every day. Each time you check your blood sugar, write the number in your record book. Call your doctor if your numbers are too high or too low for 2 to 3 days.

– Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails.

– Brush and floss your teeth and gums every day.

– Take any prescribed medication for other conditions, such as coronary heart disease.

– Check with your doctor about taking aspirin each day if you have heart disease.

Leave a Comment

Spirit India