If you are already diabetic, you must be aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Some common risk factors are obesity, inactive lifestyle, family history and genetics, unhealthy eating habits, age above 65, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Also, the complications of diabetes are many such as stroke, eye damage, heart attack, kidney damage, numbness, reduced blood supply to foot and more. However, the key to control diabetes is in your hands— Diet, Exercise And Foot Care.
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Complications Of Not Controlling Diabetes
Diabetes patients are likely to have a number of complications. These people are two to four times more likely to have a stroke or a heart attack. Also, it is the basic cause of blindness/ eye problems in adults ages 20 to 74. In addition, about one-fourth of diabetics have kidney disease. It can also cause the tiny blood vessels that supply the nerves and tissues to become clogged, leading to burning and pain in the feet and legs causing diabetic neuropathy.
Three Keys To Control Diabetes
In general, diabetes diet should include healthy eating with a focus on foods that do not adversely affect blood glucose levels. Eat foods such as a good variety of vegetables, unsaturated fats sources from nuts, avocados, and oily fish, and avoid processed foods. There are some Diabetes Diet plans which you can go through below and opt for one appropriate for you.
- Diabetes And The NHS Diet – NHS diet recommends eating starchy carbohydrates with every meal. It also suggests eating fruit and vegetables, at least two portions of oily fish a week, and less saturated fat, salt, and sugars. However, eat starchy carbohydrates such as rice and whole grain bread at each meal may increase blood glucose levels. Hence, it is best to performing blood glucose tests before and two hours after meals to determine which foods, and in what quantities, are helpful for you.
- Diabetes And Low-Carb Diet – Generally, low-carbohydrate diet is popular among people with type 2 diabetes. This is because many people reported of having improved blood glucose levels which also helped them to reduce medication. However, people taking medication for type 2 diabetes and following low-carb diets are more likely to have hypoglycemia so speak with your doctor before starting such a diet.
- Diabetes And Raw Food Diet – This type of diet is an effective detox diet. It has many health benefits because it includes freshly prepared food and plenty of fruit and vegetables. This diet has many restrictions so check with your doctor before starting it and also ensuring to eat a good balance of nutrients.
Diabetic people should limit or avoid the following foods –
- Fried foods and foods high in saturated fat and trans fat
- Reduce salt and Sodium intake
- Avoid sweets, baked goods, candy, ice cream, etc.
- Limit or if possible eliminate beverages with extra sugars – juice, regular soda, energy drink, etc.
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Exercise For Controlling Diabetes
Exercise tops the to-do list for managing and controlling diabetes. A small amount of regular exercise can make remarkable improvements in blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Exercising here means any physical activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness as well as overall health and wellness. It makes your muscles use more glucose than those that are resting, resulting in lower blood sugar levels. It is suggested to perform exercising for at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity 5 days of the week.
Physical activity not only helps manage your blood glucose level but also offers many health benefits, such as –
- Lowers blood pressure levels
- Improves blood flow
- Burns extra calories to help maintain your weight
- Helps improve mood
- May improve memory in older adults
- Can help sleep better
Diabetic people should take extra foot care because the condition affects blood flow and nerves, leading to peripheral diabetic neuropathy. Reduced blood flow is a diabetes complication wherein the body can’t heal easily in people with diabetes. This may lead to the dangerous situation in which a tiny cut or irritation can lead to infection and even amputation.
Foot ulcers may affect as many as 1 out of 10 people with diabetes which easily develops from blisters and small wounds posing to several threats including amputation. It may heal extremely slowly and need rigorous treatment to cure. Hence, it is important to take extra foot care in following ways –
- Wash your feet every day with warm water and soap. Dry them well, especially between toes.
- Check your feet regularly and report any sores, swellings, cuts or ulcers to your doctor.
- Frequently trim your toenails and keep it at a reasonable length
- Use moisturizer on the tops of your feet but not between the toes.
- Exercise your feet once a day – wiggle your toes to improve your overall blood flow and circulation.
- Protect your feet by wearing clean socks and comfortable shoes and never walk barefoot
Diabetes is a manageable condition and you can live a healthy life forever by controlling your diet, exercising regularly and taking a good foot care. Monitor your diabetes and consult your doctor on a regular basis.