In recognition of Nation Diabetes Alert Day, Tuesday, March 24th, All Care wanted to share some information from our Diabetes Program about the different types of Diabetes as well as some helpful hints and tips for managing your diabetes while living a full and happy life!
What is Diabetes?
When your body has trouble using the sugar glucose properly it leads to Diabetes. This results in having the sugar level in your blood either too high or too low. Diabetes also causes your body to have difficulty with insulin; your body may not know how to respond to insulin, to make enough insulin, or it may not produce insulin at all.
Types of Diabetes:
Type I- This is when your pancreas doesn't make any insulin at all so people with Type I Diabetes must take insulin every day
Type II- This is when your pancreas still makes insulin but the cells may not know how to respond to it resulting in Insulin Resistance hence some people with Type II Diabetes also requiring daily doses of insulin.
So What Does This Mean? (Why You Should be Tested)
Undiagnosed Diabetes can seriously damage your body. High blood sugar levels damage blood vessels both large and small putting you at risk for:
- Heart Attack
- Eye Disease
- Kidney Problems
- Nerve Damage
- Peripheral Arterial Disease
It's important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, anything too high or too low can have consequences so it's important to maintain consistency in your diet, activities, and lifestyle to avoid a crisis with your blood sugar.
High Blood Sugar (HYPERGLYCEMIA)
Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is important as too much sugar in your blood for too long can lead to serious health problems.
Symptoms of High Blood Sugar:
- Blurry Vision
- Frequent Urination
- Often Hungry
- Weak or Tired
- Dry Skin
What to Do:
- Check Blood Sugar Often
- Continue Diabetes Medication
- Drink Lots of Water
- Exercise- If You Can
If you have exceeded your blood sugar goal for 3 days and you don't know why, contact your doctor or community health clinic immediately.
Low Blood Sugar (HYPOGLYCEMIA)
Low blood sugar can cause a medical emergency that can come on quickly, sometimes even resulting in fainting/passing out.
Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar:
What to Do:
- Check your blood sugars, if lower than 70 treat for low blood sugar, treat for low blood sugar even if you can't test your levels.
- Try eating 3 packets (1 tablespoon) of Sugar, drinking 4 oz. of regular fruit juice, or 6 oz. of REGULAR soda
- Recheck blood sugar in 15 minutes, if still lower than 70, treat again. If the problem persists, call your doctor
Keeping Yourself Healthy with Diabetes
Exercise- An exercise program can help you manage your blood sugars by improving your body's ability to use insulin. Try walking, biking, or swimming, which are all great low-impact activities. Avoid contact and competitive sports. Be sure to stop exercising and to call the doctor right away if you feel pain, burning, tightness, or pressure on your chest, experience any dizziness, nausea, or lightheadedness, a pounding or skipping of your heart beat, or if you can't catch your breath.
Protect Yourself- Be sure to take care of yourself by getting all the rest you need, drinking plenty of water, and by keeping your regular doctors' appointments and getting suggested annual vaccinations (flu, pneumonia). Be sure to always wear supportive, well-fitted shoes with a closed toes and to always keep fast acting sugar on hand in case your blood sugar drops.
Be Mindful of Your Emotional Health- Dealing with health issues can often times lead to changes in how we feel and how we feel about ourselves. If you find yourself feeling down most days, that you're having trouble eating, sleeping, and are losing interest in friends, talk to your nurse or your doctor about it, there are ways to help! But be sure to make time to relax! Stress makes your mind worried but it can make your body tired, anxious, and sick-stress can even physically damage your heart so be sure to take the time each day to unwind. You can do this by enjoying a leisurely activity or hobby or by practicing different techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or visualization.
While Diabetics do need to pay extra close attention to Nutritional Facts of all the foods they eat, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle without suffering from a highly restrictive diet! Small changes in what you eat can help you control your blood sugar, lose weight, and help you feel better overall. Take a look at the list below for some suggestions on how to make a few small changes of your own to help your #qualityoflife!
- Try swapping your eggs for Egg Whites
- Change that white bread to Wheat, whole, or multi-grain bread
- Trade your Whole of 2% Milk for Fat-free of 1% Milk
- Use vegetable, canola, or olive oil instead of using butter or margarine
- Buy fresh or frozen fruit or fruit canned in its own juices rather than canned fruit in any kind of syrup (And the same for your veggies! Go for frozen or fresh vegetables over canned every day!)
- Choose the salad at the fast food restaurant in lieu of a burger, they're usually pretty healthy!
- Enjoy water, diet soda, or a flavored seltzer water before reaching for soda and other sugary drinks
- What about snacks?! Skip the cookies, cake, chips, and ice cream and choose fresh fruit, graham or animal crackers, low-fat yogurt, or angel food or sponge cake with fresh fruit for a delicious treat!
Your lifestyle is an accumulation of habits, which can be built or broken. Start off by changing one or two habits-pick a new healthy snack for the week and take the stairs-and slowly incorporate new, healthier habits into your life one at a time and see how much better you feel!