Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly called “diabetes,” is a group of metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels over a long period. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_mellitus
Medical doctor and researcher Paul Norwood, MD has published a new informational article on managing diabetes. The complete article will be published on the Blog of Dr. Norwood at https://PaulNorwoodMD.blogspot.com/
Let’s start with a few numbers. According to the American Diabetes Association, as of 2015:
· 30.3 million Americans (9.4% of the population) had diabetes.
· Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
· Of the 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 23.1 million were diagnosed, and 7.2 million were undiagnosed.
· The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.2%, or 12.0 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).
· New Cases: 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
· Prediabetes: In 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes.
Source: American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
Diabetes is disease characterized by high sugar/glucose levels in your blood. Glucose is generally found in the foods you eat. The hormone insulin helps this glucose to enter your cells, and release energy. As per the CDC, there are currently 30.3 million people in America that suffer from diabetes. Diabetes can further be broken down in Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes happens when your body cannot make insulin. People suffering from Type 1 diabetes need insulin shots on a daily basis.
Type 2 diabetes happens when your body cannot use or make insulin too well. In this case, you are required to take medicine or insulin shots to manage your diabetes. This type of diabetes is the most prevalent.
Finally, gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that happens to some women when they are pregnant. It usually goes away once they give birth, but even so, these women are at a higher risk of acquiring diabetes at a later point in their life.
How Can You Manage Your Diabetes?
No one plays a more central role in managing your diabetes than you. You should seek help from a doctor and discuss the best way to care for your condition and stay healthy. Some key steps for managing diabetes are:
Step 1: Know the ABCs of Your Diabetes
When you have diabetes, there are three main things to take care of:
a. The A1C Test: The A1C test is a blood test used to measure your blood glucose level over a period of 3 months. Ideally, the result for this test should be below 7, but you should ask your doctor for specifics as it can be different for everyone.
b. Blood Pressure: Your blood pressure is defined as the force of circulating blood on the walls of your blood vessels. The blood pressure goal for a diabetic is below 140/90 but as is the case with the A1C test, it may be different for you. Maintaining your blood pressure at normal levels is very important because a high blood pressure means more work for your heart. This can go on to cause a stroke, a heart attack, and damage your eyes and kidneys.
c. Cholesterol: The cholesterol in your blood can be broken down into 2 parts. LDL is the ‘”bad cholesterol”. This can accumulate and block your blood vessels, causing a stroke or heart attack. HDL is the “good cholesterol”. It helps remove LDL from your blood vessels. As far as the ideal level of LDL and HDL is concerned, the answer varies for everyone, and your doctor will be able to advise you better on this.
Step 2: Cope With Your Diabetes
a. Manage your stress: Stress causes your blood sugar levels to rise. Learn ways to control your stress. This can be done by doing breathing exercises, going on a walk, gardening, meditating, or listening to music. You can also seek help from a mental health counselor, a friend or family member, or a support group.
b. Eat well: Work with your doctor and come up with a meal plan that helps support your condition. Choose low-calorie foods and avoid foods having trans fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar. Foods that are high in fiber, like breads, whole grain cereals, rice, crackers or pasta are very good for you. You must also include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet as well as, low-fat milk and cheese. Try to consume water over juices and carbonated beverages.
c. Be active: Being active is a general necessity to lead a healthy lifestyle but it has numerous additional health benefits for diabetics. You can start by going on short walks at least 3 times a day. Allocate 2 days to building your muscle strength. You can do this by using stretch bands, doing yoga, gardening, or trying push-ups.
d. Set a routine: Developing some daily habits can go a long way in managing your diabetes. For one, check your feet for blisters, cuts, swelling and red spots, on a daily basis. Contact your doctor or health care team at once if you have any sores that do not disappear. You must also maintain your oral health by brushing and flossing every day. If you smoke, then you must quit right away. You must also make a habit of checking your blood sugar once or twice a day. Keep a record of these results to show to your doctor when you pay a visit.
Step 3: Getting Routine Care
Keep in touch with your doctor and your healthcare team. Pay your doctor a visit at least twice a year so that you are up to date with your condition. If any problems are found, regular visits can help treat them on a timely basis.
At each visit, you must get:
* A blood pressure check
* A weight check
* A foot check
* A review of your health plan
Besides this, you must get an A1C test done at least twice a year. If the result is often over 7, the frequency may have to be increased.
You’ll also need to get the following done, once a year:
* Cholesterol Test
* Dental Exam
* Eye exam in case of eye problems
* Complete foot exam
* Flu shot
* Blood and urine test in case of kidney problems
You can also consider getting the following shots at least once in your life:
* Hepatitis B shot
* Pneumonia shot
Diabetics may get careless about their condition. Proper management of diabetes can help you live a near-to-normal life, but neglect may result in serious repercussions. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible has the following benefits:
* You have more energy
* You feel less thirsty and tired
* You heal faster
* You have fewer bladder and skin infections
Managing your diabetes will also help you avoid serious health problems such as:
* Stroke or heart attack
* Nerve damage, this is usually characterized by pain, numbness or a tingling sensation in your hands and feet
* Kidney problems which may lead to kidney failure
* Eye problems which may lead to losing your eyesight
* Oral cavity infections which may cause tooth decay or gum disease
About Paul Norwood, MD
Dr. Paul Norwood leads the team at Valley Endocrine in Fresno, California. Valued by his community for his caring and kind personality as well as his skills as a physician, Dr. Paul Norwood is also respected nationwide for his expertise as an endocrinologist. In 1993, Dr. Norwood founded Valley Endocrine Clinic, which specializes in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, as well as Valley Research, which does clinical trials.
Video: Dr. Paul Norwood M.D. of Valley Research discusses treatments and medicine to treat conditions like diabetes, chronic migraines, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ueoj-gOs5M