What is Diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes Type 1, where the body produces no insulin at all and Type 2 where the body does not produce enough or the body’s cells do not react to the insulin produced. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood (glucose) and is produced in the pancreas. In the main this article deals with Type 2 diabetes, as this is the type that affects around 90% of people.
Diabetes can wreak havoc on lives, causing amputations, blindness, heart disease, and even, in extreme cases, death.
Happily though, you can control most cases of Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through nutrition, healthy weight levels and exercise. There is no need for special diets. Just try to eat a healthy diet concentrating on vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. That's a healthy diet for everyone!
To make sure each meal you eat is balanced, divide your plate into sections. Devote half your plate to vegetables that are low in starch. Fill one quarter of the plate with healthy carbohydrates and the remaining quarter with a lean protein food such as 'white' meat or fish. This will make sure that your body gets everything it needs, keeping your diabetes in check.
When dealing with a child that has Type 2 diabetes, be sure that you include the entire family along with the special dietary plan that the child has to endure. This will make it much easier for the child to handle, as opposed to having to watch other people eat foods that they might desire.
Restrict the amount of salt that you include in your diet to less than half a teaspoon. If you have diabetes, salt can lead to higher blood pressure and kidney complications. Try using different herbs and spices to season your food instead of salt. Also be wary of processed foods, which usually contain high levels of salt in them.
If you have diabetes, you should try to cut out alcohol. Alcohol can cause low blood sugar, which is called hypoglycaemia. The effects can be very hard to predict with different people. Doctors will allow some people to have a drink or two with proper management, but it is best to avoid alcohol altogether.
If you are a diabetic, consider seeking the help of a nutritionist. A nutritionist is able to help you with problems as such as: what to eat, what you can't eat, what diets to follow and what to eat as a snack. Nutritionists are not only able to help you with the latter, but also provide assistance in answering questions you may have.
Be sure to consult with your doctor if you are pregnant and think you may have gestational diabetes, where so much glucose is produced that the insulin cannot control it all. By not controlling gestational diabetes, you are putting the health of yourself and your baby at risk. Your doctor may prescribe certain medications that are safe to take during pregnancy and advise you of what to eat.
As well as diet, probably the best thing a person can do to avoid Type 2 diabetes is to exercise. People who exercise 30 to 60 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, can significantly lower their risk of developing diabetes. Exercise improves the health of your heart and lungs, reduces stress, reduces fat, increases metabolism and lowers blood sugar levels.
Although diabetes can be extremely difficult to live with, it never has to get to that point. As long as you find out as much as you can and follow the correct medical advice you should be able to manage Type 2 without too much complication. As ever though, always consult a doctor if you think you might be at risk of, or are suffering from, diabetes.