Defense Against Diabetic Complications

Diabetes can be difficult to manage and lifestyle adjustments can often feel overwhelming to patients. But there is a reason behind the recommended diet and exercise. Farther down the road, larger complications can arise such as nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, hearing impairment and amputation. In order to prevent these complications, MSA has recommended measures to take to ensure optimal health.

Be Aware of the Risks
Although type 1 diabetes is most often found in childhood, adults can develop both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 can occur in anyone under 40. Type 2 typically occurs in individuals over 35 and usually comes from poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. For those undiagnosed, the symptoms of diabetes or prediabetes can sneak up on you before you understand what’s happening. Annual health checkups are necessary to ensure you are in good condition. Otherwise, be aware of the common symptoms of diabetes and prediabetes in order to get a prompt diagnosis. These symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss (despite the hunger)
  • Vision problems
  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes and irritability
  • Slow-healing sores and frequent infections

If you test positive for diabetes, you’ll need to start taking medication to regulate your blood sugar. This could be insulin or other prescription medication. In addition to taking your prescription, there are a few lifestyle changes that can help prevent further complications of diabetes.

Increase Exercise
Exercise is recommended to help manage the symptoms of diabetes and decrease further complications. However, it’s important to understand how to properly exercise with diabetes and get your doctor’s approval before starting your exercise program. Generally, it is recommended to carry fast-acting carbohydrates on your person in case of low blood sugar, drink plenty of water and check your feet daily for any blisters or skin breaks that may occur.r. Always test your blood sugar levels before exercising to ensure you are healthy enough to do so. 

While diabetics are insulin resistant, exercise makes the insulin you have much more efficient. Plus, strengthening your muscles means your body uses up excess glucose, while the boost in circulation helps stave off nerve damage and helps with the healing process. In short, adding in exercise not only helps you manage weight, but it fights the key factors of diabetes to prevent further damage down the line.

Plan a Diabetes-Friendly Diet
Take a look at your diet. Is it empowering your healthy lifestyle, or is there work to be done? You don’t have to become a health guru overnight, but still, regulating your diet and weight is one of the most powerful tools available to control your diabetes and prevent complications. 

To properly regulate your blood sugars, you’ll need the right amount of fiber and less unhealthy fats like trans or saturated fat in your diet. Both carbs and sugar will raise your blood sugar levels faster than other foods, so it’s important to consult with your physician to determine how many carbs you should be eating at each meal and snack. Additionally, learn to read food labels. Just because something is “sugar free” doesn’t mean it has zero carbs and vice versa. To nail down your plan, talk to your provider to see how you should manage your diet. Some great foods for diabetics include:

  • Salmon or herring
  • Cinnamon
  • Greek yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Leafy greens
  • Whole grains like rice or oatmeal
  • Strawberries
  • Plant-based proteins like legumes

Try to eat these foods in a healthy form. For example, a cinnamon-sugar doughnut will not have the same effect as adding cinnamon to oatmeal or tea. Experiment with different vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains to discover which foods you love that help maintain a healthy diet.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is not something that can be cured, but it can be managed. While some can maintain healthy blood sugar levels without medication and bring their diabetes into remission, there’s still the possibility it could come back. The most successful cases lost 30 pounds or more. Additionally, those who had been living with diabetes for some years had a lower chance at remission than those who had recently developed the disease.

Diabetes can be a challenge, but it’s not one you have to face alone. Get connected with a vascular expert at Muskegon Surgical Associates to discuss your options and create a plan of action to help you maintain a long and healthy life.