Manage your Diabetes effectively to avoid severe Health Consequences

     Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases where in the person’s Blood Glucose (Sugar) level is high. 
The increase in Blood Glucose level can be:
  1.  Due to inadequate insulin production.
  2. Or improper response of body’s cells to *insulin. 
  3. Or Both.
either due to inadequate insulin production or improper response by body's cells to insulin
     Almost close to 10% of world population has diabetes and yet there is no cure. People with diabetes need to manage their disease to stay healthy.
       *insulin is a hormone that allows the body to use Glucose (sugar) from the food we eat for energy or to store Glucose for future use. It helps in regulating the Blood sugar level from getting too high or too low.

Common consequences of diabetes:
     Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes puts you at risk. High Blood Sugar(Glucose) levels over a prolonged time, potentially damage your blood vessels internally and cause the below complications.
Prolonged high sugar levels cause internal damage to blood vessels

Diabetes & Food Planning:
     People often tend to associate blood sugar level only with “table Sugar” or “sweetened food items”. The term “Sugar” used in association with diabetes refers to “Glucose” and not just only table sugar / sweetened food items.
      To understand diabetes, certain basics of nutrition and how it affects blood sugar level needs to be understood.
      We get energy and calories from the food we eat. Our bodies convert food into energy.
The food we eat can be broadly categorised into Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat. Our main source of energy is carbohydrates; our bodies convert carbohydrates into Glucose, a type of sugar.
      Let’s have a closer look at each of these categories of food w.r.t how they affect blood sugar level.
carbohydrates, protein, fats and their affect on blood sugar level
       The key is to eat balanced meals with right amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fat so that blood sugar does not rise too high or too quickly.
      Being overweight, obese & blood cholesterol, adversely affects diabetes, hence while planning for balanced meal, also a check on the overall calorie intake is essential.

Few tips for food planning:
  1. Keep a check on overall calorie intake, by reading the food labels or by checking the same nutrition websites.
  2.  Eat regularly to avoid severe fluctuation in blood sugar levels.
  3. Cut down on portion sizes.
  4. Avoid calorie dense food or sugary drinks. Food/beverages with added sugar or salt. Pay attention to food/nutrition labels.
    pay attention to food/ nutrition labels, cut down on calories by smart eating
  5. Have vegetables / fruits, nuts as healthy snacks instead of the usual calorie dense ones.
  6. Raw vegetables / fruits are high in fiber content, will keep you full for longer and also do not cause blood sugar hike.
  7. Whole Grains are high in fiber and are a healthy source of carbohydrate.
    high fiber content in food helps you feel full longer and also cuts down on the calories
  8. Food with low GI values helps in better management of diabetes and also to reduce overall calorie intake. Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose.
  9. Reduce intake of saturated and trans fats for example go for grill over frying.
  10. Avoid partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Limit saturated and trans fat & replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  11.  Reduce fat intake, select skim (fat free) milk and low fat dairy products.
  12. Reduce consumption of cheese & butter; instead go for healthier version of sauces.
  13. Cut down on alcohol & smoke.
Diabetes & Exercise:
         Exercise plays a key role in preventing and controlling blood sugar hike. And it is a proven way to help manage diabetes. Exercise / physical activity improves insulin sensitivity by helping body’s cells to effectively utilise available insulin.
exercise / physical activity improves insulin sensitivity

     Physical activity also helps in regulating blood glucose levels by stimulating a separate mechanism (independent of insulin) to allow the cells to use glucose for energy.
         30 minutes of daily Aerobic exercise like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing etc at least 5 times weekly is recommended for adults. For those who cannot shell out straight away 30 minutes, several shorter workouts totaling 30 mins will prove similarly beneficial.
       Strength training exercises like lifting free weights, sit ups, squats, planks, pushups etc increase resting metabolism of the body. Thereby helps in reducing blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity. Strength training is recommended at least twice a week, in addition to recommended aerobic exercises.
     Stretching exercises and the like of yoga, lowers stress levels, increases flexibility, prevents muscle aches and indirectly contribute.
Few incidental activities which can be used to put in more physical activity are:

incorporate as much physical activity in your daily routine

        For effective management of diabetes drugs & insulin treatment is not sufficient, exercise & diets are essential and go hand in hand for better management.
          Also keeping a check on blood pressure & cholesterol level, helps to prevent complications.

Note : This Article may not be treated as a substitute to doctor's consultation, this is generalised information for an overall wellbeing.