Conquering Diabetes - The New Indian Express

Conquering Diabetes

Published: 14th November 2013 10:17 AM

Last Updated: 14th November 2013 10:17 AM

When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is often the central theme. After all, keeping your blood sugar level within your target range can help you live a long and healthy life. But do you know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall? The list is sometimes surprising.

You Are What You Eat

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. But it's not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level. How much you eat, when you eat and what you eat matters.

What to do:

Keep to a schedule. You can help lessen the amount of change in your blood sugar levels if you eat at the same time every day, eat several small meals a day or eat healthy snacks at regular times between meals.

Make every meal well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats.

Eat the right amount of foods. Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food.

Coordinate your meals and medication. Too little food in comparison to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia). Talk to your diabetes healthcare team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedule. Keep your BMI under normal limits

Commit To Be Fit

Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes management plan. But even light activities — such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods — can lower your blood sugar level.

What to do:

Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan. Ask your doctor about what type of exercise is appropriate for you.

Keep an exercise schedule. Talk to your doctor about the best time of day for you to exercise so that your workout routine is coordinated with your meal and medication schedules.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water while exercising because dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.

Be prepared. Always have a small snack or glucose pill with you during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low. Wear a medical identification bracelet when you're exercising.

Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. If you take insulin, you may need to adjust your insulin dose before exercising or wait a few hours to exercise after injecting insulin. Your doctor can advise you on appropriate changes in your medication. You may need to adjust treatment if you've increased your exercise routine. Carry your ID card whenever you are going out. Walk an hour a day, keep your diabetes away.

Take Medication On Time

Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar level when diet and exercise alone aren't sufficient for managing diabetes.

But the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. And any medications you take for conditions other than diabetes can affect your blood sugar level, too.

What to do:

Store insulin properly. Insulin that's improperly stored or past its expiration date may not be effective.

Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, the dosage or timing may need to be adjusted.

Be cautious with new medications. If you're considering an over-the-counter medication or your doctor prescribes a new drug to treat another condition — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medication may affect your blood sugar level. Sometimes an alternate medication may be recommended.

Foot, skin, dental and eye care

It’s important to schedule regular eye and dental appointments and to check your feet and skin for diabetes-related issues such as sores or dryness. Why? Diabetes affects the tiniest blood vessels in your body and they're most commonly seen in your eyes, your kidneys and your nerves.

(The authro is Medical Director, RajaRajeswari Medical College and Hospital, B’lore)

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