If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to understand that you can still live a normal life by making just small changes in your lifestyle and managing your glucose levels. For example, if you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and you lose 7 percent of your body weight (about 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and exercise 30 minutes most days of the week, you can significantly cut your chances of developing health complications in the future.
Warning Signs of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia
You will need to check your blood sugar often and learn about the warning signs of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
For various reasons, your sugar levels may drop (if you skip a meal, exercise more than normal, inject too much insulin). Be aware of the early signs and symptoms of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia:
- Rapid heart rate
- Blurry vision
You can also develop high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia (eating too much, eating the wrong types of food, not taking enough insulin). The early signs and symptoms are:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty concentrating
Our Diabetes Center
It can be difficult to start making lifestyle changes on your own. That’s why we recommend you take advantage of the Jane Phillips Diabetes and Nutrition Center. We can help you:
- Develop a regular, daily meal plan that helps you choose what to eat, when to eat and how much
- Get physically active and learn how your glucose levels change with exercise
- Check and monitor your blood glucose
- Manage your medication
- Determine if you need Insulin Pump Therapy
- Evaluate your feet and assess footwear
Medication and Insulin
Some people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by changing their diet and exercising. Buy many need the support of medication and insulin therapy. Your doctor will help you determine the best medication for your condition.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need lifelong insulin therapy. There are many types of insulin, including insulin pump therapy. Because your blood sugar levels can change unpredictably, you will also need a glucose monitor.
If you have gestational diabetes, your doctor will help you with the best treatment plan.
There was a time when diabetic diets were very restrictive. Fortunately things have changed and there are many choices for diabetic nutrition. Controlling diabetes is not just about eating less sugar, it’s about eating a regular, balanced diet of healthy food. Make sure you avoid refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, pasta, crackers, white rice, chips) that are rapidly broken down into sugar causing spikes in your blood sugar levels.
Things You Need to Know
- It’s important to understand how different foods can affect your blood sugar levels
- You need a daily meal plan so that you eat regularly
- In general, you should choose foods that have a low glycemic index (foods that don’t raise your blood sugar quickly)
- Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta
- Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables
- You can have fruit, just be careful of your portion size
- Avoid soda, fruit juices and energy drinks
- Eat more beans, dark leafy greens, citrus fruit, sweet potatoes, berries, tomatoes, fish and nuts
Diabetes and Exercise
If you have type 1 diabetes, you should know that exercise may lower your blood sugar, even up to 24 hours afterwards. You will gradually learn how your body reacts, but be prepared with a fast-acting carbohydrate (sports drink, glucose tab) either before, during or after your workout. If your blood glucose runs high during exercise, you may need to avoid vigorous activity if the ketones (acids made when your body uses fat instead of carbohydrates for energy) are high in your blood or urine.
If you have type 2 diabetes, research shows that exercising 30 minutes a day can help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Approximately 25 to 30 percent of diabetes patients develop a foot sore, or ulcer. Though foot ulcers can be anywhere, most occur on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. There are several reasons why you may have foot problems, but the most common is neuropathy. Neuropathy is nerve damage which causes numbness or a loss of sensation in your feet. Additionally, you may also suffer from poor circulation, which can make your foot less able to fight infection and heal. Poor circulation can also change the shape of your feet or toes, which also causes problems.
Other factors that contribute to the risk of developing foot problems include:
- Elevated blood sugars
- Hypothyroidism (unusually low activity of the thyroid gland)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Once you develop a foot ulcer, it may take weeks or even several months for it to heal. Foot ulcers are the most common reason for hospital stays for diabetics. Left untreated, a foot ulcer can become infected and potentially lead to the loss of a limb.
Foot Care Program
It’s important for people with diabetes to have good foot care and inspect their feet every day.
Wound Healing & Wound Center
If foot and leg wounds do not heal, you may need treatment our Wound Center. For more information, call the Jane Phillips Wound Center at 918-331-1867.