What Everyone Should Know About Diabetes.

Diabetes is a growing epidemic.

For the most part diabetes can be avoided, with a few exceptions like inherited. All people run the risk of becoming diabetic.

I am just a lay person who has had to learn a lot of information about diabetes fast because of my diagnose. With all the information out there I must admit it was intimidating to tackle at first.

So I would like to give you my notes and suggestions on how to avoid and/or deal with diabetes.

Let me first explain a bit about diabetes. Most people fall into on of two categories.

Type 1: This is were a person either doesn’t have the ability to produce insulin. This can be inherited or it can be acquired through damage or diseases to the pancreas.

Type 2: There are a couple a variations on this type of diabetes. For the most part you make insulin but your body doesn’t know what to do with it. It’s also sometime call insulin resistance.

There are a lot of simple test that a doctor can run if you think you are diabetic.

There are also a lot of warning signs that you can watch for.

These include:

�§ Increased thirst.
�§ Increased hunger.
�§ Dry mouth.
�§ Frequent urination.
�§ Unexplained weight loss
�§ Fatigue.
�§ Blurred vision.
�§ Headaches.
�§ Loss of consciousness.

From my experience knowing is better than not knowing. If you think you might have diabetes you need to go and see a doctor. The tests are quick and will possible save your quality of life.

If you are diagnosed, stop. Take a deep breathe. Sit down with your doctor and come up with a step by step plan.

You will need to become familiar with testing equipment. Glucose meters are getting cheaper and cheaper. You don’t need a fancy one to get the job done.. Most of the time you can get free meters with rebates. One thing I learned is that insurance companies limit the amount of strips you can buy in a month. So if you have to test 4 times a day, your insurance company may only cover 3 times a day. Another interesting thing I learned is that most testing strips come in packs of 50 or 100. So if you have to test 4 times a day that’s 120 strips a month. Plan ahead before you leave the doctor’s office on your way to the pharmacy. A few extra minutes planning will save you time and money.

One test you need to become familiar with is the Hemoglobin A1C. This test will tell you and your doctor the percentage of glucose attached to your red blood cells over the last 3 months. The higher the percentage the more uncontrolled your blood sugars have been.

A1c(%) Mean blood sugar (mg/dl)
6 135
7 170
8 205
9 240
10 275
11 310
12 345

The American Diabetes Association recommends 7% or less

If you have complications it’s very important to control your sugars tightly. Some of the complications can be neuropathy (Loss of nerves), Vision changes, kidney damage and heart disease. Diabetics are at risk for a lot of different complications.

Now there a lot of things you can do to start helping yourself out.

1. Medications can help, but you will need to do more work to help yourself.

2. Know what you are eating. The more processed the food the worse it is for your body.
a. Shop the outer edges of the stores. Stores keep all the processed foods in the center usually.
b. Look for Corn Syrup or High Fructose Corn Syrup in your food. It’s pure sugar and will affect you in a negative way. Ever since it was introduced into our world incidences of diabetes has risen.

3. Get up. Get moving. Anything is better than nothing. Walking, Cleaning the house, Walking the dog are good examples of simple things you can start with.

4. Lose weight if you are on the heavier side. You didn’t put it on overnight. Set real goals. 2lb here and there will add up to a long term goal in the future. Rapid weight loss can be bad so go slow and steady. If your not losing weight, then your are not burning more calories than you are consuming. Eat less and walk more.

5. It’s ok if you don’t eat everything on your plate. I grew up where you had to eat everything on your plate before you could leave the table. Now I take food home if I’m at a restaurant. It’s ok.

Everyone will approach the way they deal with diabetes differently. Look to others who have been where you are and get their advice. It isn’t a death sentence. You just need to keep your chin up and learn as much as you can.

Learning and Living. Every day brings new starts. No one is perfect and you have a chance each day to do better than you did the last.

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