Aug 20, 2012
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease of absolute or inadequate production of the pancreas, and/ or the body’s resistance to insulin. It is a long term and a lifetime illness that is projected to be the second debilitating disease, causing most of the world’s mortality and morbidity. DM itself does not necessarily cause life threatening scenarios but its complications do. It may include Ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar non- ketotic acidosis, peripheral neuropathy, blurring of vision, gastropathy and other complications.
As newly diagnosed, I experienced having ketoacidosis which I thought was the end of my life. It was sudden in nature and I did not really have any hints of developing such. I felt drowsy at that very moment, been vomiting everything I put in my mouth, and had been breathing so hard that I felt as though I had walked a mile. I was thankful that I was given immediate treatment; if not, I have not awakened and maybe I was rushed to the intensive care unit for that.
Controlling your sugars at first is not easy. It needs to be systematic and it involves your whole being. You have to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready.
I am not really expert in medicine, I am a nurse who just wants to make a difference by imparting things I believe are helpful to others. So, here are the tips in managing your sugar level:
1. Have a Food diary.
I had find out that listing your food and caloric intake as well as counting your carbohydrates are very helpful. It would be easy for you to track down what food made your blood sugar level shoot up or what made you hypo at a specific time. It is like watching out what you eat, too. It worked for me after 14 days of learning how to count my caloric intake and also as to how my sugars react to it. It is worth the effort I had put it in because today I realized how proper diet really had an impact on DM.
2. Eat more veggies and foods rich in fiber.
Vegetables in a diabetic plate shows bigger portion than all the rest of its content like starch and protein. As much as possible eat plenty of veggies because they are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. Fiber- rich foods are believed to slow down the absorption of glucose in the gastrointestinal tract and also aids in the digestion. Having vitamins and minerals especially vitamins C and B complex and zinc protects you from infections and from developing peripheral complications. However, in choosing vegetables, make sure that it is fresh and not artificially sprayed with pesticides. Green leafy vegetables are the best ones I could suggest.
3. Drink lots and lots of water (unless you are taking medications that tend you to be having fluid retention).
People with diabetes commonly lose water because of frequent urination and due to strenuous activity like exercise. Imagine your body with less fluid; common sense would make you realize that your sugar level would be somehow concentrated. That is diabetes educators would advice to drink water especially if you have eaten a sweet snack. The concept is the same if you will be confined in the hospital due to high blood sugar level, for instance ketoacidosis; they will hydrate you with saline solution. The rationale is simple – to wash out the sweets.
In addition, drinking water also prevents you from having urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and it could also promote skin hydration.
4. Avoid and prevent yourself from having common colds or flu.
Avoid overcrowded places to prevent yourself from acquiring colds or flu. Watch your blood sugar level periodically and take your medications as prescribed or if needed, consult your physician right away if you are already ill. Your body compensates well with what is going on especially if you are sick. Your blood sugar tend to rise or consistently be high during you are sick, emotionally low or during stressful days, so you really have to be careful with your health and to put an effort in monitoring your sugar level.
Doing exercise 3-4 times a week makes a difference in controlling DM. According to studies, a minimum of 30 minutes is already enough to hasten good circulation in the body and helps burn fats. Put in mind that exercise does not burn sugars but it simply aids your body use up glucose properly. It also helps in preventing the resistant reaction of your cells to insulin, avoiding the absorption of glucose. Note that prior to exercise, one should first check your blood sugar level and take a meal if necessary; in order to avoid passing out in the midst of activity.
6. Hygiene is a must.
Itchiness and skin infections are common for diabetics if they have uncontrolled sugar level. In tropical countries, hot weather and air pollution do make your skin prone to itchiness, so bathing more often is a must. Using antibacterial or antifungal soaps could work, too, however to prevent dryness you have to put on hypoallergenic and moisture proven lotions.
7. Do not stay up at night if not necessary.
Do you know what is similar when you have fewer hours of sleep and having a high sugar level? The answer is you are drowsy. Your sugar tends to build up and your body is likely to make use of its supply, making you feel sleepy. However, the main point here is have at least 6- 8 hours of sleep at night because studies have shown that staying up at night for a longer time makes your sugar high in certain percentage.
8. Discover your interests.
Having DM affects your mood once in a while. You may sometimes some lows and suddenly some highs despite strict avoidance to sweets. So my tip for you is to find what makes you think is creative to do or any activity that would interest you. In this way you could divert your thinking from what frustrates or depresses you – because as what I had mentioned, depression or having some stressful thinking is not helpful for you. It even makes your sugar fluctuate unexpectedly.
9. Educate yourself.
Reading updates about diabetes, may it be through journals, resource community, or through reliable evident- based research portals would be very beneficial. Making this a habit makes you more accepting of your illness and its complications. It could also aids you in finding some remedies in your everyday problems in relation to DM. However, every time you try a product or a new treatment, always seek advice from your physician to avoid drug incompatibilities or any untoward side effects.
Praying is one essential way of releasing your burdens, but in a most discreet way. Having God with you in your fight against diabetes makes you feel stronger every time you wake up in the morning. Be always thankful for each new day that God has given you. Do not lose hope since if others can, why can’t you? Complications may arise in the future but if you prepare yourself well, it may not happen or it may have delayed for many years to come. God moves in mysterious ways. For me, I consider having DM type 1 as my second life. If I was not able to survive its tragic entrance, I may have deemed silence already. So, instead of complaining why I had diabetes, I faced it with strength, because I know have God with me whom is greater than my problem.
I hope these 10 tips could help you manage DM. Feel free to add some more in your own jot down notes because who- knows there are still more helpful tips in dealing with it. As time goes by, managing DM makes you more likely to adapt with it and familiarize with its consequences. So, deal with it and live life at its peak.