Evidence Based Android app for Diabetes Management
Dr Sharon Baisil MD
Dr. Sharon Baisil MD is a Medical Doctor specialized in Diabetes control and prevention. Currently researching the mechanisms of adaptive stress response of the pancreatic islet in Diabetes. A passionate blogger who believes in making sense of the world of Endocrinology and Diabetes through patient education. Developed the award-winning 'Beat Diabetes' app which is used by 100,000 diabetes patients worldwide.
Planning a great vacation with your family or have an important business meeting with your associates overseas?Then being a diabetic, surely you are in the grudges of worry right now and tensed too. Coming up with the ultimate cheat sheet on travel for diabetes is indeed a great idea.
Traveling can apparently fluctuate your blood sugar levels. This is because geographical factors like altitude, temperature, sunlight intensity influence the way your body utilizes the insulin. But this doesn’t mean you have to give up your hobby of traveling for the sake of diabetes management. You don’t need to cancel your meeting abroad either.
Traveling and healthy diabetes management can go hand in hand. The key is to prepare a strategic care plan prior to your trip. If traveling has always been a fearful topic for you as a diabetic, then your next few minutes are going to be very important.
It’s worth your time to scroll down through this article. We have prepared an impeccable diabetic cheat sheet for traveling convenience for the diabetic folks. For the sake of convenience, we have divided your travel activity into three prominent phases.
Before the departure
During the actual journey in the transport
After the arrival
Checklist to consider somedays before the departure date
There are four essential notes to check before you declare yourself ready for leaving your hometown.
1.Consult your doctor
Start with booking an appointment with your doctor at least 15 days before your trip.Your doctor will tell you whether your blood sugar levels are stable enough for the change in physical location or not. Before your departure, you might need some additional medications. Be clear with few more things like;
How often to check blood sugar readings during your tour?
Any special adjustment needed to comply with the changing environment?
In what sense medication be modified keeping in mind time zone changes?
What are other precautions that need to be considered while traveling across the borders? For instance, if your body is allergic to certain environmental factors that are prominent in the place where you are hoarding too.
Getting travel insurance is as important as everything others included in this checklist. As you know, rules and regulations pertaining to healthcare sectors vary from country to country. It’s a wise decision to get financially covered to avoid any undesired losses. In this case, you will be suffering a dual loss – your health as well as wealth, both are valuable. Why be lazy and regret later? A stitch in time saves nine. Who knows you might end up spending above your means after being ignorant towards having travel insurance.
Adverse circumstances never arrive with any sort of advanced warning. So, the only thing you can do is to keep control of things all by yourself. Surf across the internet about the hospitals in the place you are leaving for. Research about the cost, location, and facilities provided by the hospitals in advance. This saves you from going through troublesome hustles afterwards. Use Google Maps to get familiar with the distance and duration.
3. Get a written diabetes care plan
Don’t just note it down, but also follow it rigidly. Ask your doctor to write down all the essential prescriptions, medicines, special precautions, and alterations carefully. Once you are done with this step, head-on with the next one mentioned.
4.Pack a double dose of every medicinal equipment
There is no certainty, you can run out of medicine any time. Sometimes, sudden damages also occur with your suitcases. You need to be geared up for such situations. The only dominant way of dealing with such losses and hardships is keeping twin packets of all the medicines. Even doses of insulin, syringes, pump, test strips, lancets and every other instrument you possibly need to use to get control of your blood sugar levels. All those equipments must be in extra quantity before you get out of your home.
During the journey in the transport
When you are actually passing by the way with any mode of transport whether you’re in a car, train or airplane, you still have a lot of factors to take care of.
5.Insulin and travel – crucial points to keep in mind
To inform you of good news, you can surely use an insulin pump during flight travel. Be responsible enough to disconnect it when the flight is about to take off and land at the airport. It is even better if you are turning on airplane mode while you are using Bluetooth connection for your medical devices. Never ever do a blunder of keeping insulin pump in checked luggage. This is because flights have a separate compartment to place all the checked baggage.
The insulin pump freezes under such conditions that dwell inside that compartment. Therefore, your presence of mind should be good enough to remind you of keeping your insulin pump, in fact, all your medical equipment in your personal hand luggage only. Moreover, if you have decided to cover the traveling distance by your personal transport, then too some stringent measures are required.
In case you stop in the middle of the way for some refreshments and relaxing purposes. Don’t leave insulin pumps, monitoring kits and other devices under direct sunlight. When the car is kept parked under sunlight for long hours, the interiors heat up which can damage your costly medications.
6.Dealing with food struggles
You will definitely be carrying your own cooked meals when traveling through road transports. This food needs to meet the guidelines laid down for a diabetes-friendly diet. Just don’t be careless about not having meals at the proper time. The right doses of medicine at the right schedules become even more necessary while traveling.
Airways don’t have a special menu for diabetics but they give full free to diabetic people for carrying their own food. There is one more safe and healthy option to go with. Air hostesses usually provide the menu list a few hours before the food is to be served. Immediately calculate the amount of carbohydrates in the foods you order eating.
This calculation can be done using diabetes apps which can be done prior to the commencement of your journey. After this, you can order the dishes whose calorific values lie within your permissible calorie range. However, if you are reluctant to try some mathematical operations in the mid of your flight, you still have another active option ready. Carry your own menu which fits for high blood sugar.
7.Snacks to pack
Packing up a box with healthy snacks is really a great idea. Some people will even love this, especially if they are a foodie or enjoy some homemade eatables in the way. Being a foodie doesn’t mean, you are allowed anything. Only diabetes-friendly snacks should be carried.
Almonds – there can be no superior alternative to this. With abundant dietary fibers, vitamin E and B12, and magnesium, they are the safest and healthiest meal for travelers with diabetes.
Oatmeal – not much is needed to say about their benefits. Easy to carry and even easier to cook with little requirement of boiling water.
The best food partner for non-diabetic health-conscious travelers too.
Salad sandwich – club together broccoli, carrots, tomato, your favorite leafy vegetables. Assort them together between two bread slices.
Next, sprinkle some salt and lemon juice and you have successfully created an amazingly wholesome recipe to aid your diabetes care plan. Remember the bread used here has to be brown bread and not the white one. Because small things matter a lot.
Yogurt – readily available, can be carried feasibly and eating is also a fabulous experience. The one thing you should bother is not adding table sugar. You are destroying all its advantages if you doing so.
In fact, sugarless Greek yogurt being a probiotic enhances your digestive activity. A highly suggested snack for people who face stomach related problems like indigestion, constipation, pains, etc. during the trips.
8.Being ready for emergency
Always keep medicines under your closest access irrespective of wherever you go. The areas of closest access can be the pocket of your outfit, your handbags, wallets, and so on. It is also advised to carry portable glucose monitors as the need for checking blood sugar levels might increase when you stay out of the station.
Be ready with some instant remedies like homemade bitter gourd juice to counteract the sudden occurrence of hyperglycemic situations. You can easily carry one in reusable plastic bottles. If possible, you can stop to meditate and perform deep breathing exercises for a while. Then continue with the journey with positive spirits again.
This extremely helpful tip is especially for flight passengers. People with diabetes are at high risk of blood clot formation. This risk increases twice during the journey time. Flight socks are of great significance for the individuals who are under the influence of diabetic neuropathy as these socks prevent clotting. There is no restriction for anyone for wearing such special flight socks. This is the reason that even people without diabetes also prefer wearing it for comfortable flight experience.
10. Keep drinking water
This is essential to keep up with the dehydration. When you are on the trip, you feel excited and when you feel excited, cortisol levels in the body rise. The rise in levels of cortisol can cause a siginficant heightening of blood sugar levels. When you go without drinking water, these sugars get concentrated and rest you know yourselves. To add more information, dehydration also becomes persistent with an increase in altitude. If hilly regions are on your visiting tourism list, please be secure.
After the arrival So here you are, happily and safely arrived at your final destination. The list of precautions doesn’t end here. There are some little specs you need to look at.
11.Disposal of used supplies
You are in another city or country. As a responsible citizen, it’s your duty to take care of other people’s amenities as well. Follow the instructions as mentioned for the safe and risk-free disposal of a particular medical instrument.
Don’t just throw them off in such a way that they pave a threat towards someone’s health. You might be wondering was this point really needed to be included in this checklist? Yes, it was. Think globally, act locally. Always carry good ethics wherever you go.
Direct heat of sunrays is a great enemy of all your healthcare devices. It can damage insulin pumps, sugar monitors, test strips and other such equipment. Don’t leave them by the poolside, in taxies in the road, on the beach area and wherever you can possibly go.
13.Buying insulin and medicines
Suppose you have packed an extra dose of all your medications but alas! Bad luck yet followed you and you still lost them. We want to make you aware of the fact that not all insulins and other drugs meant for diabetes are the same.
They come with a difference in standards and speculations. You need to be extra careful while going for purchase. Check if that insulin has been labeled with the same and exact speculations as to the one you are already been using. That is why extra supplies of all your medications are an utmost necessity before heading onto another city, town or country. Perhaps, you may not be able to find everything in other countries.
Some factors to know
Your blood sugar levels may be out of the normal range when you arrive at the destiny spot in the beginning.
This behavior is not much concerning and your levels return to normal within 48 hours or so. Though, you might need to seek medical attention if disruptions in blood glucose levels persist for longer hours.
If you tend to be more active on holidays, you might need to adjust your insulin doses accordingly.
Changes in food and drinks may also be required.
Avoid doing physical activity beyond your normal time period.
Heat intensity affects insulin magnitudes of our bodies. Don’t work much in the heat of the day.
Diabetes is neither a huge obstacle for travel enthusiasts nor it hinders your business trips. The thing is you have to come out of your comfort zone to make up all the necessary preparations. Of course, your travel plans and activities may differ from other people but you can still have endless fun during the vacations. You have every right to enjoy a great family time and formal gatherings.
Once you have successfully marked all the points of checklist in green, there is nothing you need to worry about. Although frequent uncertainties keep arriving every time, luckily you have proper stock of all your medicines and instruments to wipe them off. Hope you will not cancel your outing plan just because of the fear of distortion in diabetes management routine.
Diabetes diet is a condition, in which medicine & diet are vital in the management of the disease. Why do you sacrifice your favorite foods? You all know, food is the best medicine in the world. An integrated approach of a diabetes diet that contains nutrients as well as one which decreases the body glucose levels is recommended.
Common myths pertaining to diabetic diet
The diabetic adult population in India is estimated to be around 72.96million. These figures indicate the shooting incidence rates. The diet of a diabetic person is not something very odd or distasteful. Most of us have a belief that a diabetic diet is something that is less flavored or not delicious. But these are all wrong notions.
Real scenario, Know your body
Nowadays we have accessibility to all types of fruits, veggies, meat or fish. Creating a tasty disease-specific menu is always challenging. These are very simple things that do not need any professional interventions. Hospitals have dieticians or nutritionists to design a menu for such patients.
In other words, hospitals provide professional advice through dieticians. That is perfect, but remember you can also do it for yourselves. Because you know your body requirements than anyone else. You can observe or identify the minute changes of your body. Hence you can design your diet depending on your immediate needs of the body.
The only thing to be aware is to have knowledge about the indicated foods & the contraindicated ones. The dietary requirements also vary according to age, disease condition, sex, etc.
Most of the diabetes persons are on medications & the disease is in the controllable range. The dietary changes can bring miraculous changes in the body. Diabetic diet and Food is the best medicine that can manage all body dysfunctions. Hence deciding on your food is very crucial.
What to eat? How much? & what not to?
The main issue faced by diabetic patients is following the same diabetic diet for years or decades. Isn’t it very primitive? Yes, of course, when you have a wide range of food options available. The main rule to be followed is to include food that has a low glycemic index or in other words, choose foods that do not increase your blood glucose levels. How simple is that? Diabetes as everyone sees, it’s avoiding all your favorites. Not exactly, but this is being commonly practiced for years.
Let’s discuss some of the simple dietary changes that anyone can follow.
A common myth is to avoid sugar of any kind, most importantly the white sugar, but with the proper diet plan you can enjoy your desserts too
Stop consuming Fruit sauces or jams, they contain sweetening agents, harmful preservatives too.
Refrain from Bottled fruit juices, canned fruits like pineapple, strawberries. They contain artificial sweeteners.
Sweet pickles or sweet chutneys are to be avoided. Look for the labels & spot any unwanted sugars that may enter into your body.
Avoid eating large portions, instead, eat consistently in small quantities
Goodbye to high-calorie foods like Pizza, burgers, hotdogs, etc. Make your customized burgers with whole grain or lean meat with enough lettuce. Likewise, make your pizza & hot dogs with homemade sausages. The sausages in the market contain high sodium which is bad for cardiac health
Never skip breakfast or meals. This is very necessary as it can lead to fatality in all persons irrespective of diabetes or any disorders. Skipping food is not a solution to diabetes as it’s a common practice among young diabetic friends. This will make your body more vulnerable to other metabolic dysfunctions. It adds weight to your body rapidly. So it is wise to avoid this practice.
Diet & Lifestyle changes for Diabetes
As per researches, self-awareness, medicines, a balanced nutritional low glycemic menu, lifestyle changes, counseling or supportive therapies, etc. are very essential in managing diabetes. This method of approach is very ideal & less complicated. Recent years show vast researches in the field of diabetic nutrition. It is high time to incorporate all the thoughts for a perfect diabetic diet.
Also, lifestyle changes are inevitable as food. The habit of eating out is a common culture nowadays. The changing food culture greatly influences the body’s metabolism & invites many lifestyle disorders in the future. Food taken in small quantities intermittently is best in managing diabetes. This reduces body fatigue & keeps your stomach full.
If consumed wisely food is more effective than medicine. The same food causes diabetic diet if consumed in the wrong way. But if taken in needed proportions it acts an elixir to your body. The power of a balanced diet is just amazing.
Control your cravings- how?
To follow a specific diet, you should have a controlled & balanced mind too. Yoga & meditation can help to overcome any psychological fluctuations. Yoga also helps to burn the excess fat in the body. It synchronizes the body’s metabolic functions like digestion, hormonal secretions, excretion, etc. Some of the yogasanas if practiced daily can control the unwanted food cravings. Yoga can ease the digestion & helps to regulate the appetite.
We cannot simply just talk about the only diet when it comes to diabetes. Not only a balanced low glycemic diet is essential, but also a good level of physical activity is mandatory. Physical activity can be of any kind as long as your body is capable of doing it. It can be short walks, light jogging, small warming up exercises, etc. are of great benefit to the body.
Planning a tasty diabetic menu
Planning a diet requires great care because it should be nutritional & should not elevate the blood sugar levels. Everyone long for tasty foods, no matter even if the food is full of nutrients & not tasty, then it is very difficult to continue the plan. There is no need to compromise on taste.
Focus on a high fiber diet with healthy carbohydrates which are slow releasing like full-grain products. Fat should be monitored, preferably it is good to rely on healthy fats like unsaturated fats. Peanut butter or olive oil is a good choice.
Diet chart consisting of the South, North, East & West Indian foods
A glass of plain Boiled water, Amla or Indian gooseberry water, bitter gourd water, Fenugreek water, etc.
2Toasted whole grain bread with a spread made with Avocado & egg, with green tea
Or 2 Gobi/ palak/carrot parathas or 2 Roti plain or chapattis with mixed vegetable khurma with zero oil
2 idli/wheat or ragi dosas/steamed whole grain cakes or wheat puttu with Sāmbhar/egg curry/coconut or tomato chutney, half bowl boiled pulses sprouts
1 cup oats upma with stir-fried vegetables with skimmed milk flavored with grounded cinnamon
1 small bowl of mixed fruit salad made with apple, guava, papaya, pear or any of these. No added sugar
The homemade fruit pulp of guava/pear
1-2 Egg paratha without oil/1palak or spinach roti/ methi roti with homemade bitter gourd/beetroot pickle
Half bowl brown rice pulao made with carrot, tomato, broccoli & cauliflower with cucumber- avocado- lemon salad,
warm coriander/ dry ginger drink
Half bowl brown rice with baked chicken/pan-grilled sardines/ lean meat with onions & garlic, salad with tomato & lettuce
Seafood salad with grilled anchovies, sardines, tuna & onions- optional with meal
2 plain roti /half bowl rice with chicken or fish curry, homemade pickled amla which is oil-free with less salt
Drinks- buttermilk with lemon leaves or mint/ jeera water
Special salads- yogurt with tomato & onion or boiled sprouts with grated coconut
Pan grilled nuggets/pakodas made with sprouts & chopped onion
Steamed whole grain flour cakes stuffed with grounded nuts or coconut
Khichdi with veggies or semolina boiled with vegetables, onion, ginger, etc.
Pancakes made with millet flour/whole grain with honey spread
Mixed Chana/corn/ peanut/ green pea chat- spice level low
Drinks- coffee/tea/green tea/ oat-apple drink
Soup with chicken & broccoli/cabbage/carrot/mushroom
The sandwich made from whole grain bread with tuna or sardines- no mayonnaise or dips
1 roti/chapatti stuffed with vegetables, chicken or mushroom, Salad with cucumber& apple
Porridge made with oats/broken wheat, fenugreek leaves, honey
2Wheat dosa with tomato –bitter gourd chutney
Drinks- warm boiled water, ginger tea
1Almond nut/ 2 walnuts with warm water
1 glass unsweetened warm low-fat milk
How does the diabetic diet influence your body?
Drinking plain water or amla water is the best way to detoxify your body. All the waste materials or toxins accumulated in the body or various metabolic bi-products are washed off. This is very important to start your day.
Breakfast is brain food as per the experts. So a good nutritious breakfast is necessary to maintain blood glucose levels. This energizes your remaining day hours. If breakfast is proper, then you get the appetite timely during lunch & dinner. For diabetic persons, the above chart gives an extensive menu. It includes a fiber-rich nutritious diet.
You can pick your favorite veggies or fish or meat of your choice provided they no longer interfere with your blood glucose levels. It is always good to avoid any type of processed food. For example cornflakes or cereal bars available in the market. They are never a safe option. Most importantly never skip breakfast as it is your first food of the day.
Just before lunch, it is advisable to eat some fruits or boiled veggies. You can also opt for fruit juices. This cools your body & prepares you for your lunch.
Lunch should include either brown rice or rotis made from millet flour/wheat flour. You can have curries with sardines, tuna or anchovies. Just make sure that you are eating the right quantity of food & not in excess. Eat according to your appetite.
Don’t eat too much if you are not hungry. Drinks like buttermilk can provide minerals, vitamins, & other nutrients to replenish your body. Chicken is a good source of protein. So include in your menu as a curry option with fewer spices & oil. You can also make non-vegetarian salads. Avoid all types of fried foods especially fish fry, fried meats, heavy oiled pickles. The best option is to rely on homemade foods.
You are not restricted from snacking. Here we have covered some of the snacks which are tasty & nutritious. The snacks you choose should always complement your body health. Snacks for diabetes are different from normal crisps & chips. You can have nuggets of your choice but oil-free, use pan-grilled ones for your body.
Oil-free pancakes made from whole grain flour with shredded chicken, veggies of your choice are tasty options. You can also make salads with sprouts & grounded nuts. It is healthier to drink herbal drinks such as cumin water, ginger tea rather than regular coffee or tea. Occasionally you can enjoy your coffee or tea.
During dinner, eat freshly prepared foods. You can include vegetables of your choice along with chicken or fish. Fish are a source of good fat for your body. It is healthy to consume a small piece of fish with your regular dosa or roti. You can consume drinks made from cooked fruits along with oats. Apple or guava can be cooked then blend to a pulp. The pulp is then added to the cooked oats. This is an excellent drink with rich flavor.
Before going to bed, avoid heavy foods or leftovers from your lunch /dinner. You can drink warm low-fat milk or amla water.
Diabetes diet chart contains a wide range of options to choose for your daily menu. You can always prefer to eat your favorite foods in a healthy as well as tasty way. Diet Changes are focused on maintaining your blood sugar levels & nutrient balance of the body. All these depend upon the severity of your disease condition. It is recommended to consult with your doctor for expert advice. This food options listed mainly redesigns traditional diabetic food practice. You can always make your own healthy choices. Live happily with diabetes by enjoying your favorite foods.
Diabetes, termed as Diabetes mellitus in medical terminology is a metabolism related disorder characterized by destabilizing levels of gluocose in bloodstream.
With 42 million people already in its grudges, diabetes has justified it’s position as the most common disease in today’s society, worldwide. This number is yet to inflate more by the end of 2024. The statics could be comprehended somewhat as 4 out of every 5 people will be diabetics.
Even today, at least one member in every family is diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. You can analyze your own case in this context. Are we guessing it right? The impact is in such a way that more and more people are switching towards the use of sugar-free foodstuffs.
The market for calorie-free sweeteners is already on fire and will extend further in the coming years too. The huge count of diabetic individuals in India and abroad laid a necessity to emphasize its causes, symptoms, tests, and treatments in a most accurate manner.
Creating awareness on a large scale to make it noticeable by the people and masses everywhere on the topic of immediate concern. Because this disease is not confined to any particular age, gender, blood group, country and so on. It can happen to anyone irrespective of other variables.
It further intensifies the need for addressing all the speculations linked with the disease with proper and authentic information. By doing so, people can up with the rightful measures towards timely prevention and control of this ever increasing disease.
Types of diabetes
Diabetes is classified into four gross categories.
Pre-diabetes – as the name clarifies, this is the stage prior to the onset of actual diabetes. This means a person is just on the verge of formulating diabetes. One side takes to large doses of medicines and the other side leads to a healthy diet with some restrictions, good amount of physical exercise. The choice is still there.
The optimistic facet remains that prediabetes is completely curable and person can successful curb the circumstances towards prosperous life with no place for diabetes medicines. Of course, this requires a lot of discipline, fixed diet patterns, appropriate exercise and other prescriptions by the specialists for some duration.
Type 1 diabetes – the less common but still dreadful when occur. The body is deprived of insulin production. Insulin, the key hormone of carbohydrate metabolism is synthesized by the pancreas.
Due to some unknown auto-immune causes, beta cells of the pancreas which are the major arena for producing insulin get destroyed. The supply of insulin in the body is greatly suppressed and this eventually leads to a heightening of blood sugar levels. Such a category of people frequently needs insulin doses to keep up with blood glucose metrics.
Type 2 diabetes – this is the most common class of diabetes in the present day scenario.
The spec which alienates type 2 diabetes from type 1 is that here body continues to produce insulin but unfortunately, not in sufficient amounts. Comparatively less magnitude of insulin is generated than that in the body of a normal healthy individuals.
Often, in this case, the body develops insulin resistance. The further scenario is such that excess glucose persisting in the blood is not taken up by the cells. The cells are deprived of energy as well as sugar levels of the body are extremely high. This is the most feared dual disadvantage of type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes – diabetes which only marks its onset in pregnant women and not in any other person. pregnancy arrives with multifarious changes in the physiology of the body functions. The body witness an enormous change in the hormonal count, developmental processes and some morphological changes do occur. Symptoms
How will you come to know whether you or any of your acquaintances are falling probe to diabetes? There are some quite apparent commonly felt symptoms to recognize the need for diagnosis and check ups.
Feeling thirsty: because your body is unable to regulate sugars in a proper way.
Frequent urination: because kidneys fail to cope up with excessive blood glucose.
Tiredness and fatigue: because body cells are starved of energy. They are unable to absorb glucose.
Bloating: due to inefficient digestive functions. Food remains in the stomach for longer hours resulting in aches.
Weight loss: natural starvation faced by body cells as all the glucose is either remaining in blood or flushed out without absorption by the kidneys.
Blurred vision: this is a combined consequence of diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy. Gradual healing of wounds: due to poor blood circulation prompted by high blood sugar.
A sudden outburst of sores and blisters: the exact cause is yet to be discovered but diabetes triggers certain integumentary problems.
There are some gender specific symptoms in both men and women. The general symptoms as discussed above are common to every individual.
Diabetes leads to decreases stamina and sexual reluctance in men. Some cases may involve erection dysfunctions and decrement in muscle strength.
Women highly become vulnerable to urinary tract infections during the dominance of diabetes. Infections in the vagina, ovary, and birth canal can be significant signs for seeking immediate medical attention.
Furthermore, the skin may turn dry along with itchiness. Mood swings too become apparent.
Lesser Known diabetes symptoms
Diabetes does have some lesser know symptoms too. Not every patient or person is aware of such uncertainties. These are;
Get detailed insights about lesser Know signs and warnings for type 2 diabetes
Causes of diabetes
By now, you are already familiar with different types of diabetes, each one of which is triggered by a different cause. This cause actually forms the basis for the classification of this disease.
Type 1 – due to reasons which are yet to be discovered, this occurs when the immune system attacks beta cells of the pancreas which are major sites of insulin production in the human body. The exact cause of this auto immune disease still lies unclear and is currently under research by the experts of the field.
Type 2 – either body fails to produce enough insulin or lacks sensitivity towards the action of insulin. There are many reasons concluded by researchers for such a widespread prevalence of type 2 diabetes, the accusing fingers prominently point towards genetic and lifestyle factors.
People who find themselves in agreement with the following criteria must be more cautious with the risk for developing type 1 diabetes;
Being above the age of 45
Having parents or siblings with type 2 diabetes
Leading a sedentary lifestyle with less physical activities
High blood pressure
High triglycerides count
If diagonosed with prediabetes
Have suffered gestational diabetes during pregnancy
Gestational diabetes – The most pragmatic change is the formulation of important tissue placenta which forms a bridge between the body of the mother and growing child. Placenta produces several hormones essential for the healthy grooming of a fetus. Now, as a fetus grows, the placenta produces more and more hormones. These placental hormones prompt for rising in blood sugar levels. This process continues for months and ultimately comes a stage when the blood sugar range of body surpasses the safe limits. This marks the onset of gestational diabetes.
This could be controlled by taking into consideration some gross measures like proper weight management prior to diabetes and getting more alert if the women are already suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Women are at high risk and must plan a mandatory appointment with the healthcare providers if;
You are overweight
Your age is more than 25 years
You developed gestational diabetes in the previous term too.
You have a family history of women suffering from the same disease
You are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
Complications and risks linked with Diabetes
The chances for the occurrence of strokes and cardiac arrest increases four folds. Angina is also the threatening factor which readily comes into effect in most of the cases.
Several nerve bundles of the body, notably those which form a part of the peripheral nervous system get damaged.
The term is given to the condition when nerve supplies of the eye are affected and injured due to hyperglycemic conditions.
The results can be diminishing of vision, blurred image formation and eyes get swollen too.
The word nephro relates to kidneys in every context. Diabetic nephropathy is when kidneys fail to function optimally as a result of high blood sugar. Clinically, this can be tested when urine contains proteins that get leaked by defective kidneys. The most visible symptoms are swelling in the lower part of the legs and loss of appetite.
Skin infections become common. The situation can be accompanied by sudden outbursts of blisters, round and small or large which don’t heal easily. Though they are painless but worrisome. Thankfully, there are ample lotions and ointments available in the market for the revival of the same.
Stress can cause diabetes as well as can be the outcome of diabetes. Diabetic patient often feels tired all day long but one should try to be optimistic as much as he/she can. This can be done through proper exercise and meditation which expels out negative vibes out if body and confers soothing effect to the mind.
Diabetic foot diseases are as common as diabetes itself. The thing is that the majority of people fail to realize that these weird symptoms can be an undesired invite for diabetes. It can be anything like pains, corns, calluses, swelling, cracks around heels, open sores, fungus growth and change in skin color.
Very much similar to Alzheimer’s disease in terms of symptoms, dementia is a miserable health condition when a person is subjected to memory loss and unable to make judgments. The causes can be many. Diabetes is one of them. Prolonged diabetes is an even more crucial situation as it opens the door for the numbness to walk through.
Never let your body become depleted of water. During this, kidneys secrete hormones that further concentrate sugars leading to sky-high blood sugar levels. Keep drinking water at regular intervals and carry a water bottle while traveling anywhere.
Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome
The times when blood sugar levels reach beyond 600mg/dL are massively dangerous. This excessive metric turns blood thicker and into syrupy form. The condition is more likely to develop on people with age of more than 40 years. The symptoms felt are extreme thirst and drying of mouth, drowsiness, and convulsions.
When cells run out of energy, the body starts burning stored fats to fulfill the energy demands. This brings another trouble to the view. When fats are broken, they produce acids. These acids are ketones that have disastrous effects on health. Vomiting, fatigue and shortened breath are visible signs of the calamitous condition. DKA is more associated with people with type 1 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes concerns
When blood sugar gets uncontrollably high during pregnancy, then some exceptional complications arrive which are not seen in the case of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
These hardships can be any among the following;
Poor mental development of infant
Organ disfigurement in babies
Respiratory disorders in babies
Abnormal delivery of child
Excess birth weight
Get a more detailed picture of diabetic complications during gestational diabetes.
Underlying effects of diabetes and it’s association with other chronic diseases
The moment people read the word ‘diabetes’, the view created in their subconscious mind is that of high blood sugar levels. But it’s not simply a rise in blood sugar levels. It fetches a number of other ill effects.
Diabetes and high blood pressure
It becomes extremely important to gain control over your blood pressure levels, especially if you are a short-tempered person. You desperately need to meditate dear!
Every time your blood pressure rises, your risk for damaging your health rises as well. About three-fourth of the people with type 1 diabetes and one-fourth of the people with type 2 diabetes suffer diabetic hypertension.
Are you the one? Get yourself checked today. Diabetes deteriorate blood vessels, narrows and hardens them. This can further result in heart stroke and kidney failure.
Diabetes and high cholesterol
If you have any one between high blood sugar and high cholesterol, your condition is equally dangerous. Diabetes and high cholesterol favor each other, and the outcome is worsening of health in both cases. High blood sugars intend for the build-up of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. Triglycerides and other low-density lipids lead to diabetic dyslipidemia.
Diabetes and obesity
Obesity is the leading cause of the onset of diabetes across the globe. Overeating puts pressure on the endoplasmic reticulum, a subcellular organelle for processing more nutrients. Under this pressure, the ER emits out the signal for shutting off insulin receptors in cells. This directly leads to insulin resistance. And once the body develops resistivity towards insulin, your carbohydrate metabolism is going to be badly affected.
Diabetes and smoking
Yes, people who smoke always have a greater probability of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Not only cancer, but diabetes is also widely screened ailment in people who smoke. Moreover, smoking makes it hard for you to manage diabetes which otherwise can be done with ease. Like, if you have diabetes and still you smoke, then you are two times more likely to face crucial complications linked with diabetes.
Comon tests and diagonosis of diabetes
We should be thankful enough to the technical equipment and methodologies. These innovative techniques substantially present before us an accurate picture of what is happening with our blood sugar levels inside the body.
Whether there is a need to control the calories or not is clearly revealed to us. Some tests for diabetes require fasting for 8 hours before the diagnosis procedure begins whereas some do not. Oral glucose tolerance tests rewuires fasting before the precise results could be interpreted. However, there are some tests that don’t require fasting or going without eating food or drinking any liquid. Such are called random blood glucose tests.
Hemoglobin A1C test which is highly preferable by the physicians as the first step in diabetes diagnosis doesn’t comply with the need for fasting. The lipid profile test is yet another suitable way of figuring out the undesired rise of blood sugar. Gestational diabetes is successfully diagonosed by testing the readings two hours after drinking a specifically prepared glucose drink.
Besides, with the advent of home glucose monitoring kit, people can save time by avioding personal visits to the doctors. They can conveniently keep the track of their readings at the comfort of their houses and consult a doctor in case of any discrepancies. You should be well informed about when to approach a doctor.
Different types of diabetes require different drugs and doses depending upon how much your levels are increased, your age group, and if you are also suffering a disease other than diabetes. Whether you are allergic to a particular substance, everything matters while coming up with a stringent prescription. So never hide anything from your doctor and approach at the earliest possible.
Treatment for diabetes
The treatment depends on the type of diabetes one is suffering through. Each category of diabetes has it’s own causes, and therefore specific treatment therapies are undertaken to manage each type.
Type 1 diabetes
As type 1 diabetes makes a person deprived of insulin which is an extremely important hormone for the metabolic phenomenon of the body. Therefore a person is entitled to receive periodic bouts of insulin through injections and other means. Insulin therapy is the most effective method of replacing the function of natural body hormone.
Based on the patient’s need, anyone among the following four types of insulin is given intravenously.
Rapid-acting insulin – this starts working 15 minutes after the intake and works efficiently for up to 4 hours.
Short-acting insulin – the effect begins after 30 minutes of consumption and lasts for 7 to 8 hours with efficacy.
Intermediate acting insulin – this usually commences the activity 1 hour after injecting. It remains potent for 15 to 18 hours.
Long acting insulin – this gas the longest effectively working duration. It takes a few hours for this insulin to become active after consuming but effectiveness lasts for 24 hours.
Type 2 diabetes
The treatment of type 2 diabetes is mainly sustained by drugs and medicines. Although a balanced diet with appropriate exercise helps a lot, medications ensure the longevity and prosperity of the health of a diabetic individual.
The following nine categories of drugs are the most sought-after and commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals for diabetes.
Alpha glucosidase inhibitor
These slow down the catabolism of sugars in the body. Acarbose is an excellent example of this category.
Glucagon like proteinaceous drugs
These alters the way the body responds to insulin. Dulaglutide and liraglutide are the two most common and effective drugs pertaining to this category.
Their mode of action is the stimulation of the pancreas for enhanced insulin production. Some imperative medicines in this category are Nateglinide and Repaglinide.
This works by limiting the amount of production by the liver. Metformin, the widely used medicine by the diabetic folks falls under this.
It just aids insulin to work more exigent through improved sensitivity by the body. Resiglitazone and Pioglitazone are the most prodigious examples.
Dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP 4) inhibitor
It is known for stabilizing blood sugar levels and that too without diminishing them to extremely lower ranges. Sitagliptin used by patients is also a DPP4 inhibitor.
Sodium glucose transporter (SGL T2) inhibitor
This propels the body to release more and more excess glucose along with urine thereby lessening its impact in the bloodstream. Canagliflozin and Dapagliflozin are superior varieties of SGL inhibitors.
Their mode of action is the same as that of Meglitinides i.e., by stimulating pancreatic glands to increase the quantity of the hormone. The portentous drugs to illustrate are Glyburide, Glipizide, and Glimepuride.
Bile acid sequestrants
These mainly work by lowering cholesterol content and are partially effective for controlling all levels of blood sugar. This is usually taken in combination with other drugs. Colesevelam is one such medicine. There are some other treatments given to patients in extreme cases.
Insulin therapy – people with type 2 diabetes may also require insulin injections. There are varied forms and kinds of insulin and each one work in doing different mode. But generally preferred ones are long-acting insulin taken at night time, like Levemir and Lantus.
Bariatric surgery – this is a weight-loss oriented surgery performed on people with type 2 diabetes and body massage index greater than 35. The results of this surgery are much relieving and fruitful.
The critical complications can be controlled to a good extent through careful alterations in diet plans and prioritized physical exercises. When you are diagnosed with diabetes, usually during the third trimester, the doctor prescribes you specific medicines based on your own needs.
It will depend on how much amount of calories to be consumed, what to limit and what to shake hands with. The right kind of exercise and meditation therapies are essential for keeping away all the anomalies. There may emerge a requirement to check blood sugar reading 2-3 times a day. This ensures you are distant off from the occurrence of adverse health hardships.
Some expectant mother’s manage with diet and exercise alone but many develops the need to turn on to drugs and injections. For such situations, the two most commonly recommended drugs are metformin and Glibenclamide.
Metformin – increases insulin senstivity of body and reduces the amount of glucose produced by liver in the form of glucagon.
Glibenclamide – lowers blood sugar levels by triggering the release of insulin from pancreas in greater magnitudes.
If situation still remains out of control, then the alternative that has to be operated is the use of injections. Drugs can be consumed along with timely injectables for better hold over the glucose levels. These strategies and medications altogether help in conquering gestational diabetes. Also, if women already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is having gestation period, then also changes in diet, medication and exercises needs to be done. Your gynecologist will help you with this procedure.
Side effects of diabetes drugs
Most of the drugs often impel undesired side effects other than the main action. This is because drugs interact with more than one receptors on body. Just like medications used for HIV causes anemia, the one used for diabetes are no exception.
Hypoglycemia is the broadly witnessed side effect of drugs like sulfonylureas and meglitinides.
Stomach related problems, itchiness, dryness and mild sickness are another array of effects.
Drugs like alpha-glucosidase inhibitors provoke bloating and diarrhea.
Weight gain, anemia, dizziness and liver infections are some commonly observed cases.
The drugs that suits you best will depend upon your individual health traits. Your doctor will provide solutions to overcome all the possible side effects. If you still experience any of them, you must gear up for urgent medical advice.
Diabetes Prevention and Control
Since diabetes doesn’t have any permanent cure, it’s better to be alert and adopt preventive strategies beforehand.
It’s a well-understood caveat that while good food and good exercise synergies the diabetes treatment therapy, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels still remains the master weapon.
The measures which should be adopted by prediabetic and health-conscious people must be ;
Involving physical exercises in daily routine
Eating less dishes prepared with table sugar
Wiping off some carbohydrates from plate and including more proteins
Sugar-free natural sweetening agents which neither contains calories not cause any harmful side effects like development of tumors
Replacing table sugar with coconut sugar and raw organic honey
Limiting fruits with high glycemic index
Avoiding packaged juices, snacks, candies, soda, caffeinated drinks and so on
Exclusive tip – if some day you really feel like eating sweets and delicacies, then start your day with drinking bitter gourd juice in the morning.
This juice is so effective in stabilizing blood sugar levels that even if you eat a bit more sweets and calories, you will not be facing much trouble. This tip can benefit you as in India, often the number of traditional desserts is prepared in homes on festivals and ceremonies. Don’t sacrifice those joyous moments but remember you dare not to take any sweet eatables in excessive amounts. Little bit of sweet can be bearable with the effect of juice but situation will slip out of hand if you fail to control your temptations.
Now, coming on to a healthy diet for flourishing diabetes management. The most suitable foods during diabetes are those which are low in carbohydrates and high in fibers. It is clear to every diabetic that blood sugar levels only go high if the intake of carbohydrates in the body is high. If you are daunting enough to cut off sweet from your meals, your chances of getting into hyperglycemic conditions eventually become very low.
The carbohydrates are essential as they are the prime source of energy for the entire functions of the body. Therefore, the foods with la ow glycemic index are the real game players here. Being low in glycemic index means releasing sugar at a lower rate into the bloodstream when they are consumed. Further, protein-rich menu like pulses and beans will be a great choice.
Exercises that can help to maintain blood sugar readings within a safe range involve many forms from swift walking, cycling, running, swimming to short term workouts, yoga, and deep breathing.
Other health-favoring foods
Apple cider vinegar
Know more about healthy food choices for diabetes. Know about the best diabetic diet during pregnancy.
Gaining a natural control over blood sugar levels
Not only allopathic but also ayurvedic system has bestowed upon us numerous boons through the analysis of naturally available products. These products are endowing the potential to beat diabetes with no side effects and in a cost-effective way. The contribution of nature is really huge in offering a victorious solution to counteract over the atrocious rule of elevated blood sugar.
There is a wide array of herbs, spices, and leaves which naturally stimulate glucose levels of blood towards the normal and safer range. Many of them have inherited surplus quantities of antioxidants, fibers, vitamins and chemical compounds which enormously favor better diabetic health. Such are;
Read more about the miraculous properties of some remarkable leaves and spices.
The increase of diabetes at an alarming rate in present-day society has created the need for educating about it to more and more people. The disease is such a convoluted that many people fail to realize what all is happening with them and diabetes remains undiagnosed in them for years.
Initial symptoms are mild and hard to recognize, but once you notice any of them. Do not take it for granted at all. This can be you first clue indicating that medical attention is needed. The symptoms are many and you can experience any one or some of them. The causes are also countless. The disease can find it’s way up to you through any route. Our lifestyle had made it even more difficult to keep ourselves in safe zone. The only solution that seems practical is being watchful to blood sugar levels at regular intervals.
Either through visiting the nearby certified specialists or by getting home glucose monitoring kits. Even if things seems very entangled, there is atill always a way out of it. We are here to show you that way.
Knowledge is power. Having a basic knowledge about diabetes behavior within your body gives you the power to beat down this threatening disease.
Healthful eating is a cornerstone of diabetes management. In fact, it is so important that your doctor will probably refer you to a registered dietitian (a health professional who is an expert in diet and nutrition) or a diabetes educator (a health professional who is certified to teach people with diabetes how to manage it). The dietitian or diabetes educator will develop a meal plan adapted to your specific needs that also takes into consideration your lifestyle and the kinds of foods you like to eat. He or she will probably also consider your ethnic and cultural background when developing your meal plan.
One of the most important things you will learn is when and how to eat the right kinds of carbohydrates, because carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood sugar levels. Your meal plan will also focus on controlling calories to help you lose weight if you are overweight. For many people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss and increased physical activity are the most effective ways to bring their glucose down to a healthy level and keep it there.
Your Meal Plan
When you have type 2 diabetes, the type and amount of food you eat and when you eat each affects your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels go up after eating. You should try to eat about the same amount of food at about the same time each day to keep your blood glucose near normal levels. If you eat a big dinner one day and a small dinner the next, your blood glucose levels may fluctuate too much. The following general eating guidelines can help you keep your blood glucose at a healthy level:
• Eat about the same amount of food every day. • Consume your meals and snacks at about the same times each day. • Don’t skip meals (or snacks if they have been recommended). • If you take diabetes medication, take it at the same time every day. • Exercise the same amount at about the same time each day.
There is no single diet that is right for everyone. Your doctor and dietitian or diabetes educator will develop a meal plan that is right for you. Consistent timing of your meals and snacks may not be as important as it is for someone with type 1 diabetes who is taking insulin, but keeping blood sugar levels near normal is just as important.
Carbohydrates are especially important because they have the biggest influence on blood glucose. Eat about the same amount of carbohydraterich foods at about the same time each day. Starches (such as wholegrain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta), fruits, milk, and starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes are all good sources of carbohydrates. Make sure your starches come from whole grains because they contain fiber and many other nutrients and are digested and absorbed by the body more slowly than refined starches, helping to keep blood glucose steady.
While carbohydrates are an important focus of your meal plan, protein and healthy fats are also important. Your dietitian or diabetes educator will carefully calculate the correct ratio of these nutrients. The typical recommendations are 45 to 65 percent of total calories from carbohydrates, 12 to 20 percent from protein, and less than 30 percent from fat (including healthy fats). Depending on your circumstances, your doctor may recommend slightly different percentages for you.
How much of each type of food you need depends on how many calories you need each day to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
Avoid high-fat foods and sweets because they provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. To make sure your food servings are the right size, use measuring cups and spoons and a food scale. Keeping track of your calorie intake can help you keep your blood sugar at a steady level and can help you make adjustments for reaching weight goals.
To develop a meal plan that fits your needs, your dietitian or diabetes educator will ask you questions about your lifestyle and your personal food preferences. He or she can help you plan meals that include foods that are not only good for you but that are also familiar foods that you and your family like to eat. The biggest dangers for people with type 2 diabetes are cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) problems, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Circulation problems also cause poor blood flow to the legs and feet. To prevent these problems, your dietitian or diabetes educator will teach you about hearthealthy eating that can help you reduce your risk for or avoid heart and blood vessel disease. Your meal plan will probably include the following recommendations:
Eat foods that are low in saturated fat and have no trans fats; no more than 7 to 10 percent of your total daily calorie intake should come from saturated fat. Buy prepared foods with less than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.
Limit your intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, such as egg yolks. Consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day, or 200 milligrams if you have heart disease.
Don’t eat too much salt; buy reducedsodium or “no salt added”
prepared foods. Look for prepared foods with less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving or 5 percent of the “daily value” for sodium on the food label.
Consume 9 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day; whole fruits and vegetables are more nutritious and less calorie-dense than juices and dried fruit.
Boost your fiber intake by eating whole grains, dried beans (legumes), fruits, and vegetables.
Limit added sugars to less than 25 percent of your total daily calories. These sugars, which are added to foods (such as pastries, candy, and other sweets) and beverages (such as soft drinks and fruit drinks) during production, usually provide few nutrients but lots of calories.
Carbohydrates Are Key
The goal of your meal plan is to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible after and between meals. It is important to be aware of how much carbohydrate you are eating, because carbohydrates have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels. Careful carbohydrate planning to keep blood sugar balanced, combined with eating foods that are low in total, saturated, and trans fats, can help lower your heart disease risk and your risk of complications from diabetes.
Carbohydrates are supplied primarily by grains, starchy foods such corn and potatoes, fruit, and milk. Vegetables also have some carbohydrate content, but protein foods, oils, and fats contain very little carbohydrate. Always try to consume carbohydrates that are high in fiber because they are digested slowly and therefore tend to keep blood sugar levels more stable.
How much carbohydrate should you eat? The amount needed varies from person to person. Also important is the distribution of your carbohydrate intake throughout the day in both meals and snacks. Your doctor, dietitian, or diabetes educator will decide how much carbohydrate you should have at each meal or snack depending on your weight and height, activity level, age, and any medications you are taking. The results of tests for blood sugar and cholesterol and triglycerides will also influence your daily carbohydrate count recommendation.
To keep good control of your blood sugar levels, you will have to learn how to be consistent in the type, amount, and timing of the carbohydrates you eat throughout the day and from day to day. The two methods that people with diabetes use to keep track of their daily intake of carbohydrates and other nutrients are dietary exchanges and carbohydrate counting (see page 114).
Fiber and Blood Sugar Control
You should definitely consume a lot more highfiber foods. Fiber is especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes because it can help keep blood glucose levels steady. There are two types of fiber in the food you eat: water soluble and water insoluble. Neither type of fiber is digestible, but they both play an important role in your diet. Of the two types, soluble fiber has the strongest effect on blood sugar. Foods rich in soluble fiber are digested gradually, slowing down the absorption of glucose into the blood. The result is smaller increases in blood sugar after eating.
Soluble fiber has another possible health benefit: reducing your risk of heart disease. It lowers total blood cholesterol as well as harmful LDL cholesterol by absorbing cholesterol from the bloodstream and excreting it as waste. Soluble fiber may also reduce the amount of cholesterol your liver produces.
Foods that contain high amounts of soluble fiber include grains such as oat bran, oatmeal, barley, and rye; fruits such as blackberries, oranges, apples, and pears; beans and legumes (including kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, split peas, and soybeans); flaxseed; and psyllium (a grass found in some cereal products and breads, some dietary supplements, and some over-the-counter stool softeners and laxatives).
Doctors recommend that most people-including those without diabetes-get 20 to 40 grams of fiber every day. Up to age 50, the recommendation is up to 40 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. After age 50, men are advised to consume 30 grams and women 20 grams daily (because people usually eat less as they get older). Children should have a daily fiber intake equal to their age plus 5 grams per day; for example, an 8-year-old child should eat 8 plus 5 grams, or 13 grams.
These figures may seem daunting, but you’ll find that it’s not so difficult if you add fiber to your diet gradually. Start by buying some highfiber breakfast cereals that contain whole grains or flaxseed. Prepare more fiber-rich dishes such as bean soups, stews, and casseroles. Toss some chickpeas or other beans into your salads. For a side dish, serve black-eyed peas instead of a starch such as potatoes or rice. And, of course, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
The same foods that contain soluble fiber also supply insoluble fiber in varying amounts. Insoluble fiber increases stool bulk, speeds up the time it takes stool to travel through the intestines, and improves bowel regularity. At the same time, fiber may also reduce your risk of colon cancer, hemorrhoids, and digestive disorders.
You should be aware, however, that dietary fiber can influence the effect of some common medications. For example, a high fiber intake can lower the body’s absorption of cholesterol reducing medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, the heart medication digoxin, and lithium (prescribed for bipolar disorder). If you take any of these prescription medications, talk to your doctor before increasing your fiber intake.
The dietary exchange system was developed by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association to help people with diabetes plan their meals to gain better control over their blood glucose levels. The system divides food into three main groups: carbohydrates, meat and meat substitutes, and fats. Each group contains a subgroup of foods that are similar in calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat content to make the same foods in a list virtually interchangeable. For example, under carbohydrates, you’ll find that one fruit exchange supplies 15 grams of carbohydrates and about 60 calories. Fruits corresponding to one fruit exchange include 1 cup of blueberries, 1 small apple, or 1 medium peach. Under the meat exchanges category, one very lean meat exchange equals 7 grams of protein, 0 to 3 grams of fat, and 35 calories. For the very lean meat exchange, you can choose 1 ounce of chicken or turkey white meat with no skin, 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, or 2 egg whites.
A dietitian or diabetes educator develops a meal plan that contains a certain number of exchanges for each day depending on a person’s weight, height, age, medical history, and whether weight loss is part of the plan. Forty-five to 65 percent of total calorie intake each day should come from carbohydrates, your body’s main source of fuel.
Following is a chart showing the dietary exchanges that you can use to help you follow your meal plan and manage your diabetes. As you can see, choosing fat-free milk or very lean poultry instead of whole-fat milk and beef or pork cuts a lot of calories that you can save up for another meal or apply toward your weight-loss plan.
An alternative to the food exchanges method for managing food intake to regulate blood sugar is known as carbohydrate counting, which computes the grams of carbohydrates you consume throughout the day. The logic behind carb counting is that all carbohydrates-whether they’re nutritious foods such as whole grains and fruit or nonnutritious foods such as sugary soft drinks and candy-have a similar effect on blood sugar levels. For this reason, the total amount of carbohydrates is the most important factor, not the particular food.
With carb counting, you don’t have to figure out how each food corresponds to the traditional exchange meal plan; you just need to know how much carbohydrate it contains. Purchase a good pocket reference book or pamphlet that shows how many carbohydrates are in a serving of fresh or unpackaged foods such as produce. Using a food scale and measuring cups and spoons to measure food servings can help you learn to eyeball serving sizes (see page 119).
Counting carbohydrates can help make your carbohydrate intake more precise, leading to greater control of your blood glucose.
Counting the grams of carbohydrates you need each day makes it easy to plan meals because all you have to do is look at the nutrition label on a packaged food or the nutrient analysis box on a recipe to see how many grams of carbohydrates it contains. (Watch serving sizes so you don’t inadvertently consume more than one serving and miscalculate your carb count.) To simplify the task even more, many people count the carbohydrate content of one serving of starch, fruit, or milk as 15 grams.
Three servings of nonstarchy vegetables are also counted as 15 grams, and you don’t need to count one or two servings of nonstarchy vegetablesthey’re considered free carbs. Each meal or snack should supply a certain number of carbohydrate grams, according to your meal plan. Let’s say your meal-plan breakfast is supposed to have four servings of carbohydrates, which translates into 60 total grams of carbohydrates for that meal. Looking at your box of shredded wheat, you see that one serving contains 30 grams of carbohydrates (make sure you don’t exceed one serving).
One cup of milk adds another 15 grams, bringing your carb count to 45 grams. A small apple or pear adds another 15 grams, for a total of 60 grams. If you also eat a 2-ounce serving of cheese at breakfast, it will not add to your carbohydrate count because cheese contains little carbohydrate.
Another school of thought says that all carbohydrates are not created equal and that some that break down quickly in the intestine raise blood sugar too fast.
This ranking of carbohydrates is called the glycemic index, a system that rates carbohydrate foods by their effects on blood sugar. Carbohydrates that break down rapidly in the bloodstream have a high glycemic index; those that break down more slowly have a lower glycemic index. Eating lower-glycemic-index foods can result in a smaller rise in blood sugar after meals, the theory goes.
The following are examples of foods that are high on the glycemic index and, therefore, are thought to raise blood sugar levels quickly: • White rice
Pastas made from white flour
Examples of low-glycemic-index foods include:
Wholegrain breads and cereals
Oatmeal (not instant)
Cooked dried beans, peas, and lentils
Many doctors don’t consider the glycemic index an essential tool for helping people regulate their blood sugar because the body’s response to eating is much more complicated than the glycemic index suggests. For example, different people digest food at different rates, so a given food can make one person’s blood sugar level go up faster than that of another person. Also, your body’s blood sugar response to eating a food depends on such factors as the type of food, how much you consumed, how it was cooked or processed, and whether you ate fat or protein with it. Age and activity level also influence how a certain food can affect blood sugar.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Much chronic illness in the United States, including type 2 diabetes, is linked to a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published jointly by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture, are designed to provide common-sense recommendations to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease through a balanced, varied diet and regular physical activity.
A basic premise of the Dietary Guidelines is that nutrients should be consumed primarily through food. Healthful foods contain a variety of nutrients that have beneficial effects on health. Fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing nutrients that might otherwise be consumed in insufficient amounts, but dietary supplements can never replace a healthy diet.
The Dietary Guidelines advise taking action to improve your health by following these nine recommendations:
Get adequate nutrients within your calorie needs. Choose a variety of high-nutrient foods and beverages. Limit your intake of foods containing saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugar, salt, and alcohol.
Manage your weight. To keep your weight within a healthy range, don’t regularly consume more calories than you expend each day. To prevent gradual weight gain as you age, increase your level of physical activity.
Get 30 to 90 minutes of physical activity each day. Perform 30 minutes of exercise to lower your risk of chronic disease, 60 minutes to prevent weight gain in adulthood, and 90 minutes to lose weight.
Include aerobic exercise to strengthen your heart, stretching exercises to increase flexibility, and resistance exercises for muscle strength.
Boost your intake of certain food groups. Each day, consume the equivalent of 2 cups of fruit and 2’/2 cups of vegetables for a 2,000calorie diet. Include plant foods from the dark green, orange, starch, and legume groups each week. At least half of your grain foods should come from whole grains. Consume 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or other dairy products a day.
Know your fats.
Maintain your saturated fat intake below 10 percent of total calories, and consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. Keep trans fat consumption as low as possible.
Your total fat intake should range between 20 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated varieties.
Select lean meats and poultry and fat-free dairy products.
Be smart about carbohydrates. Boost your intake of fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t add sugar to foods and beverages. Consume sugar-containing foods and beverages infrequently.
Restrict sodium intake and get sufficient potassium. Limit your intake of salt to 1 teaspoon (2,300 mg) per day; 1,500 mg if you are middle aged or older, have high blood pressure, or are African American. Increase your consumption of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables (such as bananas, oranges, greens, peas, and tomatoes).
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Don’t drink alcohol at all if you are alcoholic, pregnant, trying to become pregnant, breastfeeding, or a minor, or if you take medications that can interact with alcohol or you have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease.
Prepare and store food safely.
Wash your hands before and after preparing food. Wash all fruits and vegetables before preparing.
Keep raw foods separate from other foods while shopping for, preparing, or storing them.
Cook food thoroughly to kill dangerous microorganisms.
Avoid unpasteurized milk and juices; raw eggs; undercooked meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish; and raw sprouts.
Special Recommendations for Older Adults
Because older adults tend to eat less than younger people, many do not get sufficient amounts of some key vitamins, especially vitamin D (which maintains bone strength) and vitamin B12 (which maintains nerve function and oxygencarrying red blood cells). Some signs of vitamin 1312 deficiency include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, and weight loss, and neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, and poor memory. To prevent these problems and maintain bone strength, which tends to decrease with age, the FDA recommends that older people do the following:
Consume extra vitamin D from fortified foods (such as milk) or supplements.
Get enough vitamin B12 from fortified foods (such as breakfast cereals) or supplements.
Get regular exercise to reduce the decline in function that can come with age.
Special Recommendations for Pregnant Women
Pregnancy puts extra nutritional demands on a woman because her body is providing nutrients for the developing fetus. The following recommendations can help you stay healthy during your pregnancy and help ensure that your baby is born healthy:
Consume enough folic acid (a B vitamin) to prevent birth defects.
Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity but avoid activities with a high risk for falls or abdominal injury.
Make sure you gain enough weight, as recommended by your doctor.
Special Recommendations for Children
Because lifestyle factors contribute to common chronic disorders, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the FDA is recommending that parents help children adopt healthy habits with the following recommendations. The focus is on helping children avoid becoming overweight, the most important step in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.
Avoid weight-loss diets (unless recommended by a doctor).
Instead, increase physical activity and limit highcalorie foods.
Don’t limit fat consumption until 2 years of age. Keep fat consumption between 30 and 35 percent for children between ages 2 and 3.
Give children ages 2 to 8 two cups per day of fat-free milk or dairy products; children over the age of 9 years should consume 3 cups.
Because carbohydrates, both simple and complex, have the biggest influence on blood sugar levels, it is important to keep track of the grams of carbohydrates you eat each day. But the type of carbohydrate you eat matters for a different reason. You should try to eat primarily nutrient-dense (“lowglycemic”) carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fat-free dairy products. Limit refined and processed (“high-glycemic”) carbohydratecontaining foods such as white bread, white rice, pasta made with white flour, and cookies and other sweets primarily because they pack a lot of calories but provide few other nutrients.
How Many Calories Do You Need?
It may be hard to figure out exactly how much you need to eat each day to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight. The number of calories you need each day depends on your gender, your body frame, how much you weigh, and how physically active you are. Your doctor, dietitian, or diabetes educator will tell you how many calories you need to consume each day, but as a general rule the following guidelines can be helpful.
Controlling Portion Sizes
Weighing and measuring foods with a food scale, measuring cups, and measuring spoons will help you eat just the right amount at each meal. The following tips can teach you how to eyeball serving sizes once you become familiar with a typical meal-plan serving:
Measure a serving of cooked pasta or rice or dry cereal into a bowl or plate. The next time you eat the same food, use the same bowl or plate and fill it to the same level.
Measure one serving of milk into a glass and see how high it fills the glass. Always drink milk out of the same size glass, filled to the same level.
One 3-ounce serving of meat or other protein is about the size of a deck of cards.
One ounce of meat or cheese is equivalent to the size of your thumb.
One teaspoon is about the size of the tip of your thumb.
One serving of starch is 1 slice of bread, 1 small potato, ‘/2 cup cooked breakfast cereal or 3/4 cup dry cereal, or 1 small (6-inch) tortilla.
The DASH Eating Plan
Developed by scientists from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan is a sensible and proven way to lower blood pressure. Yes, you can actually reduce your blood pressure by following this diet, which is low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol; low in salt; and rich in fruits, vegetables, and fat-free dairy products.
At first, doctors could see that the DASH eating plan worked, but they did not understand how. Then researchers found that the diet appears to have the same effect on the body as diuretic medications (water pills) that help remove excess water the body retains. Diuretics are routinely prescribed for treating high blood pressure. Because sodium (salt) in foods tends to make the body retain water, the lowsodium component of the DASH diet may be a key factor in lowering blood pressure.
Blood pressure reductions often begin to appear two weeks after starting the DASH eating plan. Even people with normal blood pressure can reduce their blood pressure further under the plan.
The DASH diet is based on a 2,000calorie-a-day eating plan, so it is not strictly a weight-loss diet. But to reduce your calorie intake you can easily substitute lower-calorie foods for some that are recommended on the DASH diet.
This tactic, combined with a boost in your physical activity, can be enough to help you shed some of those unwanted pounds over time. For example, eating a medium apple instead of four shortbread cookies for dessert will augment your fruit intake while significantly reducing your calorie intake. The chart below shows the daily recommendations for a typical 2,000calorie DASH diet plan.
Adjust your servings per day according to your calorie intake.
The DASH diet provides evidence for the strong influence that dietary sodium can have on blood pressure. Most of the salt in your diet comes not from the salt shaker but from the sodium that food manufacturers add during processing. Most packaged and processed foods are laden with sodium. One cup of packaged rice pilaf or macaroni and cheese, for example, can contain about 600 milligrams of sodium, which is 25 percent of the 2,300-milligram recommended daily allowance. One tablespoon of reducedsodium soy sauce contains about 550 milligrams of sodium, or 23 percent of the daily allowance, while the same amount of regular soy sauce with twice the amount of sodium (1,100 milligrams) provides 46 percent of the daily sodium allowance.
Following are some processed foods that contain high amounts of sodium: • Canned vegetables
Frozen vegetables with sauce
Soy sauce and other condiments, such as ketchup and mustard • Processed cheese
Canned beans (rinsing the beans removes a lot of the salt) • Canned soups and broths
Ham and other smoked meats
Bologna and other sandwich meats
Some breakfast cereals
Reading Food Labels: A Healthy Habit
Reading food labels can help you choose foods that are better for you.
Labels on packaged food contain a section titled “Nutrition Facts,” which lists important information, such as:
Fat and cholesterol content
Sodium (salt) content
Total carbohydrate content and the amounts of fiber and sugar • Protein content
Some vitamins and minerals
The serving size and the number of servings in the package are the keys to the nutrient breakdown for that food. The size of the serving determines the number of calories and the content of all the other nutrients on the label. In other words, if the label says a food has 12 grams of total fat, it means 12 grams in one serving. If the package contains three servings and you consume them all in one sitting, you will have eaten 3 x 12 grams, or 36 grams of fat.
It’s especially important to check the fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium content. These are the nutrients that people often consume in excess. Make sure that foods you are thinking about buying contain minimal amounts of these nutrients. If the label says that the food contains trans fats, don’t buy it. Trans fats have been found to be the most harmful kind of dietary fat.
Now look at the fiber (which is part of the “total carbohydrate” count) and vitamin and mineral contents. These are nutrients you need to eat more of. On the right side of the label, you will see a column called “% Daily Value.” This column tells you whether a food is high or low in a particular nutrient so you can tell which nutrients contribute a lot or a little to your daily recommended allowance. For example, if you look at the label on a carton of milk, you will see that one serving supplies 30 percent of your daily recommended intake of calcium. Keep in mind that the percent daily values are based on recommendations for a 2,000calorie diet, so if your calorie allotment is higher or lower, you will need to adjust the percentage the given nutrient represents in your diet. For more about how to read food labels, see page 66.
Instead of always relying on convenience foods, buy fresh foods whenever you can, or buy reducedsodium or “no salt added” canned and processed foods.
Cook foods without adding salt. Instead, use herbs and spices to add flavor to the dishes you serve. You can find out exactly how much salt is contained in packaged foods by learning to read food labels. Look for foods with less than 140 milligrams per serving, or 5 percent of the “daily value” for sodium.
Everyone needs good footwear. But when you have diabetes, diabetic footwear is about more than just fashion.
It’s estimated that up to 50 percent of people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that affects your ability to sense pain and hot or cold temperatures. And as many as half may have no symptoms. “Normally, if you have a blister, you feel it and stop wearing a certain shoe. But if you don’t have sensation in your feet, you may keep wearing the shoe and walking on the area that’s sore,” says Monara Dini, D.P.M., a podiatrist in the Center for Limb Preservation at UCSF Medical Center. Those pressure points can turn into foot ulcers and cause a cascade of problems. But the right diabetic footwear can go a long way toward keeping serious foot complications at bay.
Since shoes break down over time, take inventory every 6 to 12 months. How do your feet feel in the shoes? Have any parts of the shoe worn down? Telltale signs shoes need to go: they do not feel as supportive, the heel caves to one side or is worn down, the forefoot shows excessive wear, and the lining is thinning or tearing. Walking and jogging shoes should be retired at 300 to 500 miles, or at least every 5 months. When you’re ready to hit the store, keep these tips in mind.
LOOK FOR FOOT FRIENDLY FEATURES
Start with a good supportive sole. “Cushioned outer soles, like EVA soles on running shoes or Vibram soles on some dress shoes, are shock-absorbent,” says John Giurini, D.P.M., chief of podiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Opt for shoe fits made from a breathable material like fabric or soft leather, and with laces or Velcro, which let you adjust the fit to your feet. A padded tongue and collar (the rim around the shoe) will cushion your feet and ankles. If you have hammertoes or Charcot’s joint, look for extra-depth shoes to accommodate these structural foot changes. Giurini recommends steering clear of rigid leather or rubber shoes and slip-on styles like loafers.
Walking or athletic shoes are a good choice for everyday wear. For vigorous activities like hiking, it’s even more important to find a shoe that fits well and protects your feet and ankles. “There’s a lot of up and- down movement when you hike, so it’s important to stop and check your feet regularly,” advises Dini.
While wearing sandals and flip-flops may seem like the perfect way to stay cool during warmer months, open-toe styles don’t safeguard your toes and feet. “The straps can also put pressure across the foot and lead to sores,” says nurse and certified diabetes educator David Miller, RN, M.S.Ed., diabetes care coordinator for Community Health Network in Indianapolis.
TRY THEM ON
There’s only one way to tell if a shoe fits— try it on. Since your feet change shape and size over time, have them measured by a certified shoe fitter or pedorthist each time you buy new shoes. (You can find one at abcop.org.) Shop at the end of the day when your feet tend to be bigger. And if you have inserts or orthotics, don’t forget to bring them!
When you try on a pair of shoes, stand up. “You should have about an inch of room at the end of your toes,” says Karen Andrews, M.D., an associate professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic. “Make sure your foot has space to spread and the shoe is wide enough to accommodate your foot without creating pressure points,” she says, but not so much space that your foot slips side-to-side. Feel inside the shoe too. Seams or bulky linings can bunch up and cause hot spots.
DON’T AIM FOR SNUG
With neuropathy, the decreased sensation in your feet can make it hard to determine if a shoe fits. “Oftentimes, people choose a shoe that’s too small. They perceive the snug feeling like a good fit, but it can be too tight,” says Giurini. A narrow toe box can squish your toes and cause corns, calluses, and other injuries
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SOCK
Socks provide an extra layer of protection between your shoe and skin, reducing the risk of blisters. Melissa Joy Dobbins, M.S., RDN, CDE, recommends seamless, moisture-wicking styles that keep your feet dry and don’t pinch around the calves or ankles. Look for breathable material like cotton, wool, or acrylic, especially for exercise. A little extra padding on the heel and ball of the foot helps too.
BREAK THEM IN SLOWLY
It’s exciting to get a new pair of shoes, but don’t wear them all day right out of the box. “Wean into wearing new shoes the first week,” says Andrews. Start with an hour the first day and add 30 minutes each day. Once you get to three hours with no hot spots, you’re good to go. Not sure your shoes are right for your feet? Your podiatrist can evaluate them.
DO YOU NEED INSOLES?
Bunions, hammertoes, and other changes to the shape of your foot can create pressure points and sores. Custom inserts can be molded around these problem areas and disperse the shock, allowing the area to float rather than hit the ground directly. Ask for inserts specifically designed for people with diabetes, which provide three layers of protection and support. “Over the- counter insoles could be appropriate for common conditions like plantar fasciitis or foot or ankle pain, but significant foot problems usually will require a custom solution,” says Giurini.
DO YOU NEED “DIABETES-FRIENDLY SHOES”?
If your blood sugar is in your goal range and you don’t have a history of foot ulcers or neuropathy, stick with Shoe Fits from your local store. If you have a history of serious diabetes-related foot disease, therapeutic shoes may help. They’re designed to redistribute the forces applied to your feet when you walk, reducing your risk of foot ulcers. Medicare Part B may help pay for therapeutic shoes and inserts. If you qualify and have a prescription from a podiatrist or another qualified physician, you’ll be fitted by a podiatrist, pedorthist, or orthotist and receive either one pair of extra-depth shoes and up to three inserts, or one pair of custom-molded shoes or inserts and up to two additional inserts each year.
HAPPY + HEALTHY FEET
1. Check your feet every day. Look for redness, swelling, blisters, or skin or nail changes. Use a mirror or ask for help if you have trouble seeing your feet. 2. Wash your feet daily. Use warm, not hot, water and dry well after washing, especially between your toes. 3. Keep your toenails trimmed. Your podiatrist can help with this too. 4. Don’t go barefoot. It’s easy to step on something and hurt your feet, so keep them covered, indoors and out. 5. Shake out your shoes. There may be a stray rock (or LEGO!) hiding inside. 6. Visit your podiatrist. Get a complete foot exam annually (or every two to three months if you have neuropathy).
Fear, cost, busy schedules—many factors can get in the way of taking your diabetes drugs. Tap into our insider tips to conquer the obstacles and control your health.
Anxiety about taking diabetes medication is understandable. You might worry about side effects, the strain on your pocketbook, or the hassle it adds to daily life. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to dodge the need for medications for a while, but eventually they may become necessary. If you have type 1 diabetes, you realize pretty quickly that taking insulin is essential to your survival. Medications and insulin are tools to improve your blood glucose— and they work. “Taking your medications regularly can greatly reduce your risk of developing unwanted diabetes complications,” says David Pope, Pharm.D., CDE, editor in chief at creativepharmacist.com. Sometimes remembering to take pills or injections and keeping up with refills is a challenge of its own. “The average person with diabetes is on six medicines, so it can feel like juggling,” says Jan Berger, M.D., M.J., chief executive offi cer of Health Intelligence Partners in Chicago. We’ve got tips for staying on top of your regimen and information that may ease concerns keeping you from your healthiest self.
1. Understand your medication
If you feel reluctant about taking your diabetes medication, the solution may be as simple as grasping how they work. “If we don’t understand why we’ve been prescribed a medication, our inner 3-year-olds come out and we say no,” Berger says. So ask questions.
For example, metformin improves fasting blood glucose readings by decreasing your liver’s production of glucose at night and increasing your muscles’ uptake of glucose. Insulin injections lower blood glucose by helping to move glucose from your blood into your body’s cells, where it’s used for energy. Sulfonylureas (such as glipizide and glyburide) increase the amount of insulin the pancreas releases.
Keep new prescription handouts in a safe place (or snap a photo) to review and ask your pharmacist questions as they come up. Now, perhaps you take your diabetes meds but not regularly. “Sometimes people are resistant to taking medicine because they just don’t feel they need it,” says Patrick Devereux, Pharm.D., of Family Medical Services Pharmacy in Bessemer, Alabama. Some patients skip pills when their blood glucose is in check—though missing just 24 hours of your sulfonylurea dosage, for example, could affect your blood glucose for up to five days. Similarly, although metformin generally improves blood glucose control in one to two weeks, it may take two to three months to exert its full benefit.
“Diabetes is progressive, so it generally gets worse over time as the pancreas wears out,” Devereux says. “People typically need to add medication, and sometimes insulin, to their eating and exercise plans at some point to stay healthy.” Some people with diabetes avoid their medicine because they feel shame about being on diabetes pills or insulin. For support, reach out to other people with similar cultural and health beliefs who have diabetes. Your health care provider may be able to help you make connections, or you can seek support through diabetes education programs, places of worship, or community centers.
2. Sidestep adverse effects
Some people with diabetes fear the side effects of their medications. Here are ways to reduce some common symptoms: Nausea from metformin. “This can be minimized if the provider has the patient start with a very small dose of metformin, then slowly increases it,” says Susan Alexander, D.N.P., ANP-BC, ADMBC, a clinical associate professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Plus, studies show the stomach upset associated with it is markedly better within 30 days. Additionally, there is an extended-release version of metformin that minimizes these side effects. Hypoglycemia. Insulin and sulfonylureas (glyburide, glipizide, and glimepiride) are the main diabetes medications that can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), Alexander says. Keeping a blood glucose meter and glucose tablets on hand can help ease your mind. Weight and appetite issues. “Although insulin and sulfonylureas may increase fluid retention or appetite, other drugs used to treat diabetes, such as metformin and GLP-1 receptor agonists (such as exenatide and liraglutide), are weight-neutral or even have been associated with weight loss,” Alexander says. “If you’re taking a diabetes medication that could affect your weight, eating sensibly and being physically active are especially important.”
3. Simplify your regimen
When you take several medications at different times, it can be difficult to keep them straight and work them into your routine. “Ask your pharmacist about medication packaging or calendar packs, in which one dose of all your medications for a certain time of day are together, such as in a blister pack,” Pope says. You also can use a smartphone app, such as Medisafe or Dosecast, for reminders. If you’d rather keep things low-tech, the standard pillbox is always an option. Pope and Devereux also encourage patients to ask pharmacies about synchronizing medications (sometimes called “medication sync”) so all drug refills can be picked up at one time each month.
COST SAVING HACKS FOR MEDS
Talk turkey. “Ask what medications cost,” says Dr. Jan Berger. “Your pharmacist can check with your doctor about using less-expensive medication when possible.”
Don’t fear generics. “The FDA has approved generics. They’re just as safe and effective as brand-name drugs,” Berger says.
Shop around. Use websites and apps such as medfisher.com, goodrx.com, and werx.org to find the lowest prices for medications. Check prices at your local independent pharmacy.
Check with drug manufacturers. “Look for links on drug company websites that say ‘medication assistance’ or ‘patient assistance program,’ which provide medication for free or a reduced cost to those who qualify,” says Sandra Garcia, program coordinator for the Medical Assistance Program at Texas A&M Health Science Center in Corpus Christi. Find contact information for diabetes drug companies at diabetes.org or search for drug assistance programs through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (888/477-2669 or pparx.org), rxassist.org, and rxoutreach.org.
Consider insulin pens. “Although generic insulin isn’t available, insulin pens hold a little more insulin than vials—1,500 units per box versus 1,000 units, respectively—but often cost the same copay,” pharmacist Patrick Devereux says. Ask your pharmacist about your options.
Research mail-order pharmacies. These may save you money by selling three months’ worth of pills at a time. Talk with your pharmacist to see if the option is right for you.
Use coupons. “Legitimate coupons are ones sponsored by the drug manufacturer,” Devereux says. Free pharmacy discount cards may land you on marketing lists, so steer clear.
Call your local health department. Ask about income-based medication-assistance programs.
Diabetes is a consequence of many facets. It’s not compulsory that if a person is maintaining a lower carbohydrate intake, then he/she will not fall prone to diabetes in the future.
There are still numerous other factors that govern the onset of the disease. The most conspicuous reasons that have resulted in widespread of this disease is the frail lifestyle of people and unhealthy foodstuff with lack of exercise and meditation in the daily routine that altogether results in poorly maintained health.
In some cases, when a person is suffering from hypertension or high cholesterol, diabetes also comes into play ultimately because all these diseases are correlated with each other. In addition to this, prolonged stress and anxiety are also responsible for developing diabetic symptoms in people. Does it sound astonishing to you that even stress can cause diabetes? Then lend the few precious minutes of yours to know how and why this happens.
What actually is stress and how it is caused
Stress is a natural characteristic exhibited by the body in case of an emergency. Stress, as some people think, is not always harmful rather it becomes a necessity in times of danger and other challenging situations. Under such peril circumstances, the adrenal glands of our body release a group of hormones that prepares the body for flight, fight, and fear.
These hormones increase alertness, incite pupillary dilation, raising of hairs, sweating and induce various other methods for survival during those calamitous conditions. However, long term stress affects health in many unpleasant ways. People often suffer through anxiety and mental recession for diverse problems they come across.
This can be the death of a person they were closely attached to, losing a job, career uncertainty, financial crises, intolerance, tragic accidents, family issues and so on. Many people find it difficult to deal with anxiety and depression which prompts for the occurrence of many critical diseases including diabetes.
Sometimes, natural attributes also cause physical stress. To consider, aftereffects of pregnancy and childbirth, moving to a new place with a completely different atmosphere, preparing for tough exams or interviews and, waiting for particular outcomes are familiar factors. All such entities can be responsible for developing stress by affecting the mental health of a person significantly.
Additionally, our generation is exceedingly facing stress and mental illness due to social media platforms. Of course, no one posts their failures. Everyone predicts to be happy and pleased. Thereafter, we eventually think that we are the most unlucky ones with a life full of sadness and tears. Due to similar reasons, it becomes a matter of utmost concern to impart awareness regarding the mindful approaches to tackle anxiety and depression in times of negativity and related cases.
Correlation of stress and diabetes
Researches find that stress can considerably contribute to type 2 diabetes. Although in type 1 diabetes, both the effects can occur, that is, blood sugar can either increase or decrease depending upon genetic or hormonal makeup of a person. But with type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels will only intensify as a result of stress.
It can also lead to depression and other mental trauma. Different possible explanations have been given to establish the relation between stress and diabetes but still many of them are unclear and conflicting. To be brief and exact, stress creates a kind of hormonal imbalances in the body that inhibit the release of insulin.
This makes glucose accumulate in the bloodstream surpassing the tolerance level. One of the most apparent reasons for hormonal imbalance being created in the body accounts for persistent stress and anxiety. People during such times get improper sleep and poor diet. Besides, they may indulge in social abuses like drug and alcohol consumption, sudden angry behavior, smoking and absence of healthy exercises.
All this greatly affects the immune responses of the body and leads to malfunctioning of the endocrine system which is responsible for the regulation of hormones throughout the body. The most important point to remember here is that insulin is a hormone too.
The hormone which plays a key role in glucose absorption by the body cells reducing it’s levels in the bloodstream. If hormonal imbalance occurs, then the activity of insulin is also affected and decreased. Immunity of body is weakened due to exceeding rates of dicarbonyls, a breakdown product of glucose metabolism which interferes with the infection-fighting peptide molecules of antibodies.
Cortisol hormone is released by the body of times of emergency situations to cope up with physical challenges that arrive. These hormones are involved mainly in carbohydrate metabolism therefore, stimulates more production of glucose in the body rising up the blood sugar levels. Abnormal hormone levels lead to obesity accompanied by an increase in the waist-hip ratio which is an important marker of being overweight. Obesity paves the threat for acquiring diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Stress also results in high cholesterol and blood pressure. Nevertheless, stress is not only the cause but also the consequence of diabetes as well. A person already diagnosed with diabetes can develop stress anxieties which furthermore increases blood sugar levels.
How will you know if you are really on the verge of depression and if you need immediate medical attention? Well, there are common symptoms you will experience that indicate your stress levels have risen beyond the safety margins. Feeling of sadness follows all the time, headache, social withdrawal, you don’t feel like talking to anyone, introverted nature turns on, mood swings become common, you may get involved in harmful practices and are likely to get irritated more often on mere things.
Sleeping patterns too get altered, you sleep either for a much longer time or there can be a lack of sleep as well. Digestive activity and immunity decline due to the dwindling of hormonal activities. The foremost thing you must do is to keep a check on your blood sugar levels. For this, make your logbook and note down the blood sugar levels after fasting for 8 hours with the help of home-based glucose monitors.
Compare your readings with the stress levels and find out of you can derive any similarity between your stress and blood sugar levels. Consult a doctor to get appropriate prescriptions. Your physician will generally perform a glycated hemoglobin test (HbA1c) to conclude the final results.
This test gives a clear overview of blood sugar levels over a period of preceding three months and therefore the results are fairly accurate. If readings come out to be somewhere between 5.8% to 6.5% and more, then you are in a danger zone. The most commonly preferred medicines are tranquilizers and antidepressants which are known to relieve all sorts of mental stress and pain to make a person relaxed with a feeling of well-being. Prozac, Savella, Paxil, and Celexa are some well known and effective antidepressants.
Someone has very rightfully said, “life is 10% of what happens with us and 90% of how we react to it”. Whatever happens is never in our hands, no matter how worst it was, we have to keep going because life never waits for anyone but overcoming the depression and distress is definitely in our own hands. After knowing how adverse can stress prove to be for our health, learning about stress management techniques becomes substantial.
One good thing amidst all the negativities we read till now is that there are enough powerful strategies and practices which can help us to reduce stress at it’s best.
Muscles get tensed and tightened due to continued stress. To cope up with such situations, relaxation exercises like deep breathing can help a lot. Swift walking or cycling for few minutes soothes up the mind shedding away all the negative vibes and burdens.
2. Yoga and meditation –
Practicing yoga and meditation on a daily basis serve you with incredible health benefits. Some most effective poses are Eagle Pose, Standing Forward Fold, Child’s pose, and thunderbolt Pose. All these freshen up your mind and recharge your body with the awesome new energy which was deterioratingly used up by stress.
3. Writing down your thoughts –
One of the simplest ways to get rid of all the anxiety and distress is writing down all your thoughts on a piece of paper. This method is scientifically proven for treating depression and uncertainty. Try this out next time you are stuck between the war of thoughts hassling in your mind.
4. Time Management –
When it comes to adapting strategies for distressing yourself, time management is definitely one of the brilliant skills one must practice. Get everything well planned in ahead to avoid last-minute pressure. Remain stick to your to-do list without any procrastination. The more you delay, the workloads keep increasing causing you unnecessary havoc at the eleventh hour.
5. Herbal supplements –
These can be natural leaf extracts and herbal teas. It is a widely known fact that chamomile tea has the enormous potential to cure insomnia, a condition in which there is a complete lack of sleep mainly occurring due to depression and related reasons. This tea influence the functioning of cortisol hormone turning sleep cycles to normal and provide solacing effects to mind and heart.
6. Therapies –
Many institutions across the world offer wonderful massage and therapy services for people fighting with mental illness. Famous center “Yoga Bharata” in Mysore, India promotes knowledge and awareness on multiple methods for stress management. They teach about calming yoga practices including Ashtanga and Vinyasa. Also, they offer a variety of mind enriching body treatments integrated with spa, healing therapies, and masterstroke.
Here, you will also receive a unique message for which you are made to sit on special chairs with heartwarming music played in the backgrounds. Every year, people come here in the broad population seeking solutions for depression, weight loss, memory improvement, and stress management.
7. Aromatherapy –
Another extensive therapy is aromatherapy. “Aroma” means smell and hence this therapy makes use of sweet-smelling aromatic oils derived naturally from plants. Clove essential oils have analgesic effects and are natural pain killers. Lavender oil can do wonders for your body during the time of a depressed mental state. It enhances relaxation and sleeping and prevents migraine symptoms.
Lemmon essential oils and sandalwood do also have remarkable properties of lessening anxiety and tension along with alleviating headaches and irritation. These oils are gently applied as massage all over the body combined with olive or almond oil, (used as carrier oils). Oils can be inhaled directly as during a steam bath but they cannot be taken orally otherwise would impair vital organs like liver and kidney.
8. Talk with your trusted ones –
When you speak your heart out, your stress is ultimately wiped out. You can always share your thoughts with your parents irrespective of any trust issues. Always discuss openly your sufferings and traumas with your nearest acquaintances or else you might end up taking the wrong road and regret it later.
9. Listening to music –
It is a psychologically proven fact that listening to music every day reduces the chances of suffering from depression to about 60%. The music should be light and comfortable as of classical tones, and not the rock songs.
10. Don’t be ashamed to visit a psychiatrist –
Due to some stereotypes which unfortunately are still active in present-day society, a person is reluctant to approach a certified psychiatrist. The people need to understand that just like we visit a physician when the body is ill, similarly we need to visit a psychiatrist when our mind is ill. There is nothing to feel helpless about it.
Stress can be a cause of diabetes as well as the outcome of it. Also, stress and anxiety further lead to sleeping disorders, high cholesterol, risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. There are many things that contribute to the generation of mental trauma, most of them are uncontrollable. But one must know to deal with them successfully for leading a better life.
Many researchers supports the link between stress and diabetes. When the body is under the influence of prolonged stress, then blood sugar levels elevate apparently. Visit a doctor at the earliest to avoid severe troubles. Regular exercise is the key to a stress-free life. Physical health favors mental health. From now onwards, stop taking stress all the time and let go of things that hardly matters.
There is no need to sit and bother over everything. Health has to be prioritized above all. Do not focus on what you lost, instead emphasize on what is still left with you and improve your mental and physical health for the sake of rest good things which are still there with you.
India, the country where the prevalence of diabetes is at its peak. According to recently made studies, more youngsters in India are prone to diabetes than in western countries and that too at a very early age.
Is it important to know about random blood sugar levels? Why not, nearly 70 million people in India are currently fighting diabetes and this proportion is estimated to grow up to 100 million by 2030. Indians are developing an enormous exposure towards this disease which is blooming at an alarming rate in the Indian subcontinent when compared to other parts across the world.
There are some peculiar reasons for widespread diabetes on such a massive scale among men, women, kids, and teenagers.
1. Genetic predisposition –
Genetic factors are greatly affecting the rise of diabetes in Indian society. If the parents are diabetic, then the child is also likely to develop the same disease in later stages of life.
2. Insulin resistance –
this might sound surprising to you but however, is a real proven fact. Researches reveal that Indians have inculcated higher magnitudes of insulin resistance in their body. The low birth weight of babies corresponds to this.
Furthermore, when a child with low birth weight grows up to be obese, the risk of acquiring diabetes accelerates during adolescent stage.
3. Malnutrition –
Yet another threat paved on the society is malnutrition which takes away many lives of many children every year, particularly in rural areas.
A great degree of children under the age of five in India is stunted, wasted and malnourished. Many fall prone to diarrhea or anemia and due at tender ages. Prolonged malnutrition is linked with the arrival of diabetes if the child somehow survives.
4. Dietary influences-
Apart from genetics, traditional reasons are also to be blamed equally. The diet that people of India primarily follow involves a higher intake of carbohydrates, refined cereals, and saturated fatty acids. People here are very much fond of sweets but most of them decline the rightful amount of proteins in their meals.
5. Modern lifestyle –
With the advent of urbanization, our lifestyle is turning sedentary. People are heavily dependent on machines which inhibits physical growth. This devastating affects overall health. Physical inactivity and lack of exercise are twin causes of diabetes.
6. Lack of awareness –
This is undoubtedly the reason that turns the situation worse. People, especially those living in rural areas, slums and suburbs are still not aware of the causes and symptoms of diabetes. They fail to acknowledge the disease within the right time. Don’t you think it’s high time and being a resident of India, you need to be cautious enough regarding your blood sugar levels.
Wishing to gain more insights about random blood sugar levels and its readings chart for people of different age groups in India? Congrats then, you are in the right place. Although, there are many effective tests for diabetes speculation this article mainly emphasizes the significance of random blood glucose tests. To understand the same, we need to have a closer look at the randomblood sugar levels chart in India.
What Are Random Blood Sugar Levels
The word ‘random’ here exemplifies that these are blood glucose levels which can be measured at any time of the day. Some specific tests are performed to check these levels and interpret the results.
There is no need for fasting overnight or waiting for two hours after meals. However, other common tests require either of the two conditions to be fulfilled. Moreover, you don’t need to wear the strip whole day as in case of continuous glucose monitoring meters.
This method offers flexibility in timing to people who wish to get their blood sugar tested. Do you remember reading about the HbA1C test in the previous article?
It is also a kind of blood glucose test that doesn’t require fasting. You can arrive at your doctor’s clinic at any time of the day without any preparation and get yourself diagnosed accurately.
Procedure For Random Blood Sugar Test
The procedure of this test is quite simple and brief. The medical practitioner collects a small sample of blood from your fingertips. This is done using a small sharp needle that is pricked at the top of your forefinger, generally.
This sample is further subjected to technical evaluation and results are obtained. Accordingly, your doctor will advise you on the medications based on your reports.
The readings are classified as;
80-140 mg/dL : normal
140-200 mg/dL : pre-diabetes
more than 200 mg/dL : diabetes
Pre-diabetes signifies high blood sugar levels than optimal range but provides a fair scope of reverting them back to normal, and is therefore not categorized as diabetes. Prediabetic patients are on the verge of developing type 2 diabetes if they continue to be careless regarding diet and appropriate medications.
Random Blood Sugar Testing At Home
The only way to deal with undesired health problems related to diabetes is to check your blood glucose levels at regular intervals. Home glucose monitoring kits make this task easier for us. To begin with, clean your finger gently with spirit-soaked cotton, rubbing it all over.
Then, prick your finger at the tip with the lancet that comes along with the kit. Put a drop of blood on the strip provided and insert this strip into the meter to get the final readings. You can purchase different meters based on size, features, speed, and cost. These blood glucose monitoring meters are easily available at local pharmacy stores or online platforms.
Random Blood Sugar Levels Chart
Schedule Normal Diabetes Morning hours <100mg/dL 70-130mg/dL
Before meals <110mg/dL 70-130mg/dL
2 hrs after meal <140mg/dL 180mg/dL
Bedtime <120mg/dL 90-150mg/dL
HbA1C <6% >7%
These are standard readings for all adult people in India belonging to the age group between 18 years to 40 years. The exception being in the case of gestational diabetes which has its own diagnosis and treatments.
However, results can deviate from the above readings in case a person is suffering from anemia or other such diseases. For the people living in hilly regions, fluctuations in readings can arise as well. Otherwise, a reading of 200 mg/dL and above indicates the onset of diabetes and immediate treatment needs to be done to bring the blood sugar levels under control. Generally, one more test is recommended to confirm diabetes when the readings are doubtful.
What Else To Know: The Other Way Results
In addition to this, random blood sugar readings that come out be exceedingly low indicates low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. This is the other side of this problem. You need to be equally concerned with the extremely low blood sugar levels as with the increased ones. When the readings are below 70 mg/dL, chances for low blood sugar comes in.
Moreover, if the readings are close to 40 mg/dL, this signifies severe hypoglycemia and you have to hastily turn onto proper medicine and diet which ensures appropriate carbohydrate intake by the body. Hypoglycemia too imposes crucial health threats upon your body. A few ones to mention are – numbness, loss of thinking power, heart-related ailments, excessive sweating, and sleeping disorders.
What Causes High Blood Sugar
There are numerous factors contributing to elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream. The most apparent ones are listed below;
Lack of healthy habits like exercise, yoga, and meditation in your daily routine.
Not drinking enough amount of water daily. Dehydration makes the situation terrific.
Skipping breakfast is also one of the prominent causes leading to diabetes. This is commonly for the people who get up late in the morning and rush on towards the office or college.
Too much consumption of processed snacks, junk food, packaged drinks and a greater intake of foods with a high glycemic index.
Sometimes, hyperactivity of thyroid gland or pancreatic cancer become the stringent reasons for diabetes.
Avoiding regular health checkups.
When To Become Alert For Checking Blood Sugar Levels
Honestly, if you are really serious at managing diabetes, then, please don’t wait for the right time as there is no definite prediction of this. The tables can turn up anytime. It’s better to make persistent efforts from your side by visiting and consulting a good doctor near your home.
If you are diagnosed at an early stage, you can successfully revive yourselves by adopting rightful measures within time. Or else, if you are already diabetic, still regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is obviously the key to a safe and secure life.
You come to know about how well you are doing at maintaining your sugar ranges and can avoid any severe complications beforehand. This, in turn, saves your time and money as well as keep you away from unnecessary hassles.
But, there are some symptoms and conditions under which you must not take your health lightly at any cost. A closer check at blood glucose levels become more important during the following circumstances;
The risk of developing diabetes increases four folds during pregnancy. This situation is very common among Indian women as 8 out of every 10 women are reported to suffer from gestational diabetes every year.
Encountering dominant symptoms:
If you ever experience some most common symptoms like frequent urination, excessive thirst combined with tiredness. Then you ought to visit a doctor as soon as possible. The symptoms also include unexplained weight loss, headache, nausea, blurred vision and slow healing of sounds.
If you are obese, then chances are higher for your blood sugar levels to get hiked up. Instantly, makeup and follow a diet plan for quick weight loss. Don’t forget to consult a doctor for insured healthy well being.
Case of high blood pressure:
High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes often go hand in hand with close proximity. This is because the hormones released during high blood pressure also causes the release of glycogen (stored glucose) from the liver and other body cells into the circulating blood. When you are going for your blood pressure test, it also takes time to know your readings for blood glucose levels as well.
Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
Pregnancy demands extra care and nourishment for the body as this is the time when certain hormonal changes are intensely going around in the body along with several physiological changes. In India, statistics of gestational diabetes are increasing every year seeming parallel with the increased of diabetes.
The majorly contributing states are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu with more than 20% of the women being affected with the problem. There is also a method for testing gestational diabetes that doesn’t require fasting.
All you need to do is drink a specifically prepared glucose water on arriving at the clinic. Blood will be drawn as a small sample one hour later to test it for any discrepancies. If the readings are higher than 120 mg/dL, you are required to come up with rigid precautions.
Tips for effective blood sugar testing
You should know that your blood sugar levels are affected by each and every activity you perform throughout the day.
The food you eat, sleeping durations, medicines, traveling, exercise routine, and all other things alternate the pattern of blood sugar.
Regular checking of blood glucose levels brings many advantages.
Once you know how particular food or activity is affecting your levels, you can talk with your doctor more productively.
Avoid taking the wrong food from next time onwards and continue with the ones which appear to favor your health.
Stay in your target range. Make sure your calorie consumption does not exceed beyond the permitted range. You should be aware of your target range in advance.
For instance, your levels must not rise more than 180 mg/dL from 2 hours after meals and at any other time, they must be in the range of 120-150 mg/dL.
While checking for blood glucose levels at home, don’t forget to wash your hands with warm water and medicated soap before testing to avoid any errors in the readings.
Always prefer to prick the needle at the tip of your finger.
The fingertips receive a large number of capillaries so getting a blood drop becomes easy.
Keep changing your lancet after sufficient time intervals.
In case you find any anomalies in your readings without no clear reason, call a doctor to discuss and gain clarity over the issue.
So, here you are done with all the relevant knowledge about random blood sugar levels in India, their tests and measures. People need that they must keep visiting their trusted doctors for regular monitoring of their blood glucose levels to avoid crucial complications that arrive upon delaying the diagnosis.
Of course, timely treatment can avoid big troubles. Every diabetic person is strictly recommended to include light exercises in his/her everyday life schedule. This not only keeps your blood sugar levels stable but also reduces the risk of developing any other deadly diseases.
There is only one master key to conquer diabetes and that is the continued analysis of blood sugar levels. You can decide and make your own check-up plan. This will be based on your working hours, your daily activities and whatever else you manage.
Choose one particular interval after which you will be checking your blood sugar levels either at home or at the clinic. This could be once a month, once a week or even once in a day. It all pertains to your convenience. Don’t skip checkups until and unless it’s a really hectic day for you. After embracing all such rightful measures, you will be doing pretty good in terms of efficient diabetes management.
If you ask for a one-word answer, then it has to be “yes”, a high intake of sugar can prove to be harmful in pregnancy. But wait, there’s a lot more to know about the consumption of sugar during pregnancy. Pregnancy triggers certain substantial changes in the body of a woman. Apart from nausea and vomiting, there are a lot of symptoms that come along.
When you are pregnant, tiredness and dizziness will accompany you the whole day. You might notice sudden hair fall, that huge number of strings of hairs entangled in the teeth of your comb. Most of the symptoms are normal and no stringent precautions are required to curb them, but as talking of sugar levels, you must be attentive towards carbohydrates utilization rate during the pregnant term. There is no doubt in saying that higher sugar levels during pregnancy can lead to undesired and devastating results.
Changes In Body During Pregnancy
Before we proceed further, you need to know about some usual changes which your body goes through. Some of these changes are necessary for carrying out a successful pregnancy. They assist the body to bear the developing baby and deal with the parturition process.
1. Hormonal changes –
Estrogen and progesterone are the two most important pregnancy hormones. These hormones secreted by ovary on females acquire their peak levels when pregnancy sets in. Estrogen is necessary for stimulating the contractions in the uterus while progesterone is required for maintaining the good health of both mother and child.
2. Development of mammary glands –
Mammary glands are groomed up well through various hormonal influences in order to boost the milk production for breastfeeding.
3. Increased metabolic rate –
A sudden increase in all the physiological processes is observed as a result of accelerated hormone secretion.
4. Pregnancy glow –
This happens as a result of increased blood circulation in the body.
5. Frequent urination –
You are most likely to experience this bt the end of the first trimester. This also a consequence of increased metabolic rate to some extent.
6. Vaginal changes –
You may observe mild bleeding and white discharge. The common experiences can be painful cramps which are more or less normal.
Why Is Sugar Dangerous During Pregnancy: All The Negative Impacts At A Glance
Sugars are obtained by the body in the form of carbohydrates. The food that we eat, like potatoes, rice, chapatis and so on, are a potent source of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates get broken down into simpler sugars by numerous enzymes to provide energy to our body.
Of course, we need sugars to fuel up our bodies. The energy to perform all the vital life processes is extracted through them. But when the amount of sugar to be consumed increases too much, then it will act as a driving cause for certain health risks.
If proper care of sugar intake amounts is neglected while pregnancy, then it may cause gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes further develops many complications during the delivery time.
This is when blood pressures are abnormally raised up during pregnancy. It is more likely to happen when blood sugar levels are high. This can affect vital organs like kidney, heart, and liver.
Fatty Liver Syndrome
This disease generally sprouts up during the third trimester. A diet exceedingly rich in glucose can cause fatty liver syndrome. Due to malfunctioning of fatty acid metabolism in mothers, liver cells acquire too much fat. Moreover, this can initiate several abnormalities in fetal liver too. Acute fatty liver symptoms are more common in first pregnancy or when the expectant woman is thin.
Constipation and Dehydration
The problems of constipation and bloating are usual during pregnancy. But inflated levels of glucose in the bloodstream for persistent time frame worsen the conditions. Dehydration can be a direct consequence of hiked up blood sugar levels. This can be prevented by drinking a plentiful amount of water. Water is indeed an elixir for people with elevated blood sugars.
Gaining body weight during pregnancy can be harmful in manifold ways. It opens the gateway to certain critical health issues.
Blood Sugar Spikes
If your input levels of glucose are increased beyond safe boundaries, then your blood glucose levels will rise up.
Fast foods and caffeine are primarily responsible for invoking heartburn related symptoms. Foods containing fatty acids can also cause similar symptoms.
Researches find that women with gestational diabetes have 42% more probability of having a child with autism. Not only this, but the cognitive development of the child is also hindered due to high sugar levels left unchecked during pregnancy.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is said to occur when your body unable to produce extra insulin required during pregnancy. The insulin hormone plays a key role in carbohydrate metabolism. It compels body cells to take up all the extra glucose and lessens its amount in the bloodstream.
In this way, it keeps a check on the blood glucose levels. Now, you can imagine that can happen when the body is incapable of producing a sufficient amount of insulin. Mostly, the body of pregnant women acquires the tendency to elicit more insulin production in order to cope up with the additional demands.
But in some cases, this may not happen. Such women whose body fails to boost up insulin production upon commencement of pregnancy undergo through the disorder of gestational diabetes. Moreover, because of the variation in hormonal levels and other changes, the body develops insulin resistance.
This means that cells cannot utilize insulin to an optimal extent even when it is being produced in the right amounts. Not to forget, chances of acquiring gestational diabetes are more in obese people than slim ones. Obesity can reasonably contribute to the advent of insulin resistance.
How To Prevent Gestational Diabetes
The positive side is that women with gestational diabetes can to have a normal delivery. It takes a little bit of extra effort to set everything into the right place.
When you are planning a child, make sure you are having a healthy weight.
If not so, then immediately switch on to the weight loss diet routine.
Don’t be feeble with your blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. Be watchful towards them with utmost precautions.
Visit your gynecologist regularly so that you are diagnosed at the earliest and avoid any upcoming problems handily.
Gestational diabetes is said to occur by the 24th week of pregnancy. You have a good time to get everything sorted.
If you find yourself in conditions that may favor gestational diabetes, instantly come up with rightful measures. You can take the help of the internet or consult your doctor regarding this.
Your doctor will check for gestational diabetes along with other prenatal tests.
Or else, you must prefer to go for an oral glucose tolerance test to assure that everything is well in control.
If you are prediabetic, your carbohydrates’ inputs need to be declined to the minimum limit possible for a risk-free pregnant term.
What To Avoid to Keep Blood Sugar Levels In Control During Pregnancy
Never go for artificial sweeteners while you are pregnant. Instead, opt for natural alternatives like coconut sugar and raw organic honey.
Caffeine is known to cause some bad impacts on the health of a growing fetus. Caffeinated coffee and cold drinks hinder the mental development of the baby and are responsible for low birth weight during delivery.
Alcohol can be the driving cause of miscarriage and stillbirths. Apart from this, the baby can suffer through facial disfigurement, mental deformities, and even heart-related defects.
Street foods can significantly pave the threat for developing gestational diabetes. They can result in the birth of an overweight child which in turn imposes long term health hazards on your child.
Raw milk often comes contaminated with numerous harmful bacteria that deteriorate your health. Before you consume milk in any form, make sure it is boiled for sufficient time to kill all the pathogenic agents.
Packaged Beverages and Bottled Juices
During pregnancy, even teeth and gums need special attention to protect them against enamel erosion. Furthermore, bottled juices come with extra added sugars and preservatives which are not at all a good choice. They just provide a large number of calories without any nutrition making you lethargic.
What To Adopt To Keep Blood Sugar levels In Control
Find healthy sugar alternatives
Natural fruits are an excellent source of natural sugars with ample calories that provide good nutrition. The fruits like mango, strawberry, apple, and pineapple can offer you immense benefits. Custard apple is another such fruit that is remarkably beneficial for both mother and fetus and helps to cope up with certain troubles arising during pregnancy. Avoid taking fruits in the morning when you are pregnant. It is not preferable during the term.
Vegetables And Whole Grains
Green leafy vegetables are the best thing to include in your diet. Whole grains contain healthy carbohydrates and not refined ones. They can help you to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
These are nothing but a living bacteria to boost up your health. They aid your digestion process without any side effects. Probiotics enhance carbohydrate metabolism and reduce the risk of preeclampsia to a fairly good extent.
One of the greatest sources of probiotics in day to day life is natural yogurt, made from dairy milk. But don’t add table sugar to it while eating. Its nutritional content will decrease by doing so, otherwise, it serves as a decent food choice for pregnant women.
Fibers offers multifarious health benefits. They deter obesity, regulate blood sugar levels and promote better digestion. Taking fiber-rich food along with your regular diet can prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
Your body demands somewhat additional proteins to sustain the changes accompanying pregnancy. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to level up the proportion of proteins in your meals through pulses, dry fruits, milk, and eggs.
You don’t need to join big gyms or yoga classes for this. Just find a peaceful corner in your home. Place a mat there in the early morning or evening hours and perform simple deep breathing exercises.
While you are outdoors, you can try swift walking whenever possible. Besides, cycling and jogging for short distances along helps a lot. However, if you are really enthusiastic about fitness, you can join yoga classes especially meant for expectant mothers near your house.
Some Frequently Asked Questions Related With Sugar Levels In Pregnancy
Let’s have a quick sneak peek into the answers to the questions widely asked by most of the expectant mothers.
Q. Is eating sugar safe in Pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat sugar in pregnancy but to a limited range. You should completely avoid having foods that contain refined sugars. These can be processed snacks, packaged beverages, and caffeinated drinks.
Q. How much sugar is safe during pregnancy?
Normally, up to 30 grams of sugar is ideal during an expectant stage. For better clarity, you must get yourself diagnosed well regarding blood sugar levels, metabolic rates, and body weight.
Then decide your appropriate calorie levels accordingly. This is the best way to deal with sugar levels during pregnancy.
Q. How can excessive sugar harm the baby?
Extra sugar during gestational diabetes or other disorders crosses the placenta and entries the fetus’s blood. This causes increased insulin production in the fetus’s body. The size of the fetus grows larger than normal, the condition termed as macrosomia. This may require premature delivery or C-section delivery.
Q. Can I eat jaggery during pregnancy?
You can eat it in lesser amounts if you are perfectly healthy without any risk of developing diabetes.
But if you are prediabetic or diabetic, better to neglect it and keep it away from your plate.
Q. Are dates good for pregnancy?
Yes, dates are completely fine for pregnancy. Even though they are sweet, they don’t alter blood sugar levels. Besides, they aid healthy delivery by shortening the time of labor. But as it advised to limit sugar inputs in any form, be careful of the consumption amounts of dates too.
Q. Can high blood sugar in pregnancy lead to miscarriage?
No, high blood sugar levels in pregnancy are related to many health complications but no case of miscarriage due to hyperglycemia has been reported till date. However, both mental and physical development of your child can be disastrously affected.
There are enough facts and figures to exemplify that high levels of blood sugars are harmful during pregnancy duration. It also depends on the previous history of your health. Whether you are already diagnosed with any other disease or not. Many women can develop diabetes during pregnancy. Those who are obese with cumbersome body weight are even more likely to fall prone to it.
The conclusion that comes out is – the way to have a healthy pregnancy is by putting a limit on sugar consumption levels. Don’t follow all your cravings blindly as some of them might prove dangerous for your baby. Find a complete list of healthy menu and stick to it for the nine precious months.
The crux of the entire article is that sugar has to be limited in any form. Whether it is table sugar in your daily morning teas or refined undesired sugars in candies, both have their own health crises when consumed beyond secured lines.
The main causative factors are inadequate insulin production, improper response of body cells to insulin or both. It is forecasted that by 2025, it becomes 5.4%. There arises a need to take necessary interventions from the grass root level. From ancient period we have lot of traditional medicinal literature available.
Some are indigenous origin & not revealed to others. Owing to this, a lot of valuable medicines are left unidentified. Now, with the help of sophistication & technological advancement the medical benefits of anti-diabetic medicinal plants are brought into light.
Most of these anti-diabetic medicinal plants are vegetables & forms a part of our daily food. But lack of awareness & indulgence on chemical remedies reduces the popularity. From now, prioritize them in your menu so that you could prevent the progression of diabetes or onset of diabetes in future. Let us discuss some practical ways in which you can include these amazing herbs in your diet. It is simple yet significant.
Anti-diabetic medicinal plants are safer & adavantageous over chemical formulations because of no side effects & they are cost effective too. The best advantage is that they can be consumed as a preventive measure even before the disease manifests. It can be easily included in our daily diet.
Some of the plant families are well known for anti diabetic activity
Lot of anti-diabetic medicinal plants are reported to have anti diabetic activity. But in this context, for better understanding the best known anti-diabetic medicinal plants are introduced & discussed in detail. These anti-diabetic medicinal plants have other medical significances apart from diabetic control. But the core action is to alleviate Diabetes. Major researches are undergoing to identify the specific pharmacological actions. These herbs are used as single or in combination with other medicines. These can be also consumed as diet.
Anti-Diabetic Medicinal Plants & Their Action
Bitter gourd –
Commonly named Bitter melon. Botanically named as Momordica charantia, (M.charantia) belonging to Cucurbitaceae family is very popular among the indigenous populations of South America, East Africa, Carribean & India. This particular plant’s fruit is bitter in taste & its profound when ripe. This amazing plant is a climber, perennial, produces a knobble fruit which grows about 5m.
It is regarded as one of the effective remedy for diabetes. The fruit is commonly consumed as a vegetable. There so many delicious recipes made with the fruit. The anti-oxidant property in the plant is highly contributing to its medicinal value. It contains flavonoids, phenols etc that gives a bitter taste to the fruit.
Next question is why is it anti diabetic?
The active components like Charantin & polypeptide-p are identified to have very strong hypoglycemic properties (decrease blood glucose levels). Studies prove that Charantin alone can even replace diabetic treatments. Polypeptide-p is considered as a insulin of plant origin, as it mimics the human insulin in its functions. It is found very effective in Type 1 diabetes. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027280/)
Trigonella foenum-graecum belonging to Fabaceae family. This anti-diabetic medicinal plants is native to Europe & Western Asia. The seeds are said to have anti diabetic properties. The leaves can be consumed as a vegetable or as a cooked salad.
Anti diabetic action- The seeds lowers the sugar absorption in the body. The studies reveal that seeds consumption can lower the sugar levels. And it in turn increases the amount of insulin production. There are some risk related to its consumption.
High consumption can cause allergies too. Studies suggest that maintain a time gap in taking fenugreek, if you are consuming some other medications, because it interrupts the action of the medication. So needless to say that it’s a potent drug.
Allium sativum, Family – Alliaceae. If you are not a garlic lover, then you are not doing justice to your body. It’s a powerhouse of essential nutrients. Geographical distribution – Central Asia, Iran. It’s commonly a main ingredient of folk medicine. It has cardio protective properties with anti-diabetic properties which make garlic an essential ingredient in herbal formulations.
It arrests the progression of diabetes by anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant& anti glycative properties. Recent researches shows that the garlic extracts are a powerful source for reducing insulin resistance
The raw garlic has good blood sugar decreasing properties & also to prevent future secondary complications in diabetes affected individuals. In normal individuals it has a significant effect on maintain blood glucose levels. In diabetic patients, its reported to lower the secondary complications rather than anti diabetic action. It’s a substitute for antidiabetic chemical drugs as it contains Allicin, which promotes insulin production in beta cells. It is ideal to consume atleast 1 cloveof garlic in type 2 diabetes.
Commonly known as cow plant, botanically it is named as Gymnema sylvestre, belongs to Asclepiadaceae family. The anti-diabetic medicinal plants is a shrub & is native to Africa, Srilanka & India. It’s a climber – Commonly used part is leaves. The Gymnemic acid is the active component responsible in controlling diabetes.
There are reports of growing evidences of its quick action. It has a unique property to eliminate the ability to recognize sugar taste. It serves as a receptor to reduce the glucose absorption by intestines, there by regulating the blood glucose levels in the body. It is also called as ‘sugar destroyer’
Some of the reported side effects include that chewing the leaves makes tongue loses the ability to recognize sweet taste. It is contra indicated during pregnancy & lactation. When combined with other medicines, it produces best results.
Green Chireta –
is the common name; Latin name is Andrographis paniculata belongs to Acanthaceae family. It is herbaceous morphologically. Because of the strong bitterness, the plant is named as “Bitter king”. It is a well known herb in Chinese & Ayurveda medicine. Normally the whole plant is used for medicinal use. In addition to Diterpenes, It also comprises of flavones & lactones. Geographical distribution – India & Srilanka.
It has reported to have side effects like vomiting, rashes and headache if not taken under proper care. It has active constituents’ diterpenes. The glucose tolerance test showed drastic lowering of blood glucose levels by limiting the intestinal absorption of glucose.
Zingiber officinale, belonging to Zingiberaceae family is another well-known anti-diabetic herb. Gingerol, Zingiberol are the active constituents. Universally, ginger is accepted as the healthiest option among foods. Rhizome is the part used.
It reduces the fasting blood sugar & regulates the serum insulin level. It has reports of side effects like heartburn. It is consumed in different forms like fresh ginger, dry ginger powder, ginger oil. Ginger is an inevitable ingredient in non-vegetarian cooking, soups, cakes, candies in different parts of the world.
High precaution should be maintained when it is taken with other anti-diabetic medications, as it can lower the blood sugar drastically. Ginger water with lime is the commonest beverage used in Diabetes.
Aloe Vera –
Latin name is Aloe barbadensis, belonging to Liliaceae family. It is a perennial. The plant is commonly a native of Africa. It is a anti-diabetic medicinal plants of wonders with miraculous medicinal properties& greatly specified in Greek & Egyptian classics. From the ancient period almost 7000years ago, the plants medicinal properties have been of great significance. It’s action is diverse.
It has anti- hyper glycemic effect when given in combination with other anti-diabetic medicines. The additive effect of the herb is greatly being used in the treatment of chronic diabetic patients. The oral intake should be done under expert medical supervision. Common medicinal preparations include Aloe Vera juice, gel & paste. Adulterants are available in the market like black catechu, stones etc.
Olea europea L. belongs to Oleaceae family. It is said that extra virgin olive oil keeps the Diabetes away. The tall evergreen tree is widely used as a traditional medicine in Mediterranean& European countries. Leaves & the oil are mainly used. Extracts, powder or in the form of tea, it’s indicated orally.
Olive oil has reported to lower the blood glucose level in type 2 diabetic patients. It’s a fantastic ingredient in pizza recipes, salads with tuna also. Olive oil is used commonly as salad dressing too. Polyphenols like oleuropein are responsible for these medicinal properties. (https://dmsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13098-017-0254-9)
Ivy gourd –
Coccinia indica, belonging to Cucurbitaceae family commonly known as ivy gourd is yet another herbal remedy. It grows as a wild climber in India. The small elongated fruit is very popular vegetable in India. It’s very commonly cultivated in the vegetable garden. There are lots of studies going on regarding the action of Ivy gourd in controlling the Post-Prandial blood sugar. It is edible in the raw form also. It is an amazing blood purifier. So if we could include it in our daily intake, it can contribute so much to your health. The unripe fruit is stir fried, or used in curries. The leaves are used medicinally. It has the property to mimic the function of insulin. It is consumed by diabetic patients as raw fruit & also as boiled salads.
The magical herb is a great remedy for diabetes & other debilitating illnesses like cancer also. It is commonly called by the name lady’s finger. Botanically it is named as Abelmoschus esculentus belonging to Malvacea family. It’s a tall growing vegetable common in India, Caribbean& the Americas. It stabilizes the blood glucose level by lowering the intestinal absorption.
The superior insoluble fiber is the responsible component for this effect. The immature pods are consumed as a vegetable & recommended in making stews & fries. The okra seeds in grounded form are used as a coffee substitute. Studies shows that okra water is very effective in controlling gestational Diabetes in pregnant rats. From the reports it’s evident that consumption of the raw vegetable chopping in water & drinking the water next day has proven anti diabetic effects. In turkey, it’s a part of traditional medicine & consumed as okra roast.
What can you do?
Answer is very simple. Make a small vegetable garden with at least some of them. They are all easy to grow & maintain. Pick some fresh whenever you do your delicious cooking
Anti- Diabetic Salad
As we all know, “Prevention is better than cure”. Hope you got a better understanding of anti diabetic plants around you. Next is to make the best use of it. Let’s discuss some convenient ways to incorporate these wonder herbs in your diet.
This is a practical way to prevent Diabetes or arrest the progression of disease in future. Choose some of these plants, for example take some chopped Okra, Fenugreek leaves & Ivy gourd boil slightly to soften. Then season with ginger & garlic by stir frying in Olive oil. Cut pieces of olives can also be added to enhance the flavor. Eat this salad at least once in a week. This is a dietary medicine.
Drink for diabetes prevention
Chopped ginger (1 teaspoon) added with 4-5 fenugreek seeds in 2 cups of water, boil for 15 minutes. Cool it well & drink. This is a medicated tea.
We have discussed top 10 anti – diabetic plants here with description of their medical indications. Most of these are vegetables & can be easily accessible. Some interesting practical methods are also explained to utilize the medicinal value as salads or drinks. Apart from all these life style improvements are to be made if you are health conscious. Good exercise, balanced diet & Sound sleep are inevitable.
Make these amazing herbs universal by sharing this little piece of knowledge. Let’s have some of them planted in our home.