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Living With Diabetes Part 1

Updated on June 11, 2019
Kulsum Mehmood profile image

Kulsum Mehmood is an Eye Consultant in a Private Eye Institute. She likes to write and can cook delicious meals.

Living With Diabetes: Part 1

Guidelines :

So, you also belong to the large group of diabetics ! You should know about diabetes, irrespective of whether you are a newly discovered diabetic or have known of your illness for some time. You were no doubt shocked when your doctor said to you, “You have diabetes”. Your normal capabilities should not be affected provided several changes are made to your present way of life.

A diabetic has “qualified good health”

Everything depends on your co-operation :

Thanks to the great advances in diabetes research, you-a diabetic-can now lead almost the same life as healthy persons. But one thing is quite decisive : the success of medical treatment is substantially dependent upon your co-operation. For this reason, you should at first learn as much as possible about this metabolic disorder. It will then no longer be difficult for you to build the doctor’s instructions meaningfully into your everyday life.

The diabetic is accompanied by his disease for the rest of his life. It is, however, not simply a fate to which one is cast, but a task which can be overcome. Those who follow the directions of their doctor have the chance-of leading a full life.

An almost normal life will be enjoyed provided medical advice is heeded.

Thirst, tiredness, and lassitude, changes in weight, increased passing of urine and itching-these were perhaps the symptoms that took you to the doctor. He found a high blood sugar level and sugar in the urine.

You no doubt know that every person has a certain quantity of sugar in his blood-about 1 gm.of sugar in 1 litre of blood. Your blood sugar, however, was substantially higher-a sure sign of diabetes mellitus.

The level of the blood sugar value is the important factor!

In many cases diabetes is a painless disease. You may have thought : “but I am not ill; I haven’t any pain even if the doctor has found a high blood sugar level!”.

Often, but not always, the warning signal of pain is missing!

Get to know your diabetes mellitus :

At your doctor’s you probably heard for the first time the diagnosis “diabetes mellitus”, without knowing precisely what this means. Diabetes-the word comes from the Greek language-means “to pass through, to flow through”, and mellitus means “sweet”. Hence, this is merely a description of what is happening in your body.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder. Under the influence of the hormone insulin-which is of vital necessity and which is formed in the pancreas-sugar is converted into heat and muscle power. If too little insulin is formed in the body, then one becomes diabetic. The sugar is no longer adequately utilized; the sugar content of the blood rises, and the unused sugar is excreted in the urine. Lipid metabolism is also often deranged.

There is a malfunction of the pancreas

No doubt you first asked yourself why you of all people should become diabetic. Do you have diabetic blood relatives ?

Diabetes is in many cases hereditary.

The hereditary factor plays a role

However, the disposition alone is not enough; further factors must be added to this. In adult diabetics, this is primarily the factor of overweight; in diabetic children or juveniles, the initiating factor can be puberty or episodes of rapid growth.

Overweight can be the fore-runner of diabetes

You already doubtless know that it is up to you to do something about the risk factors-overweight and the lack of physical exercise.

Even though the first symptoms of diabetes appear harmless, it is nevertheless of decisive importance for your future that you go to the doctor as early as possible and start treatment immediately.

For going to the doctor, the rule holds : the earlier the better

The objective of the treatment by your doctor is not only to bring you a feeling of well being and good performance now, but also to prevent, above all, the feared “late complications” of diabetes. Without therapy, the eyes, kidneys, heart and blood vessels of the diabetic are threatened. By a correct way of life you can contribute much to the avoidance of these late complications.

Co-operate and avoid complications

It won’t work without diet

The therapy of the diabetic is very comprehensive :

  1. diet
  2. insulin or tablets
  3. physical exercise
  4. instruction of the diabetic
  5. the correct way of life

For every diabetic, diet is of paramount importance! Neither insulin or tablets mean that the diet can be given up. Do not be scared by the word “diet”. This does not mean starvation rations, but healthy, balanced, varied nutrition which is necessary in the future for you as a diabetic, but is also benefit to the healthy members of your family. Five small meals during the day are better than two large meals.

We distinguish between three large groups in our nutrition : fats, proteins, carbohydrates. We want to talk first to talk about fats in food. Limiting the daily consumption of fats is not only a basic pre-requesite for the diabetic, but also a decisive aid to people who are overweight.

Every kilogram too much shortens our life, makes the diabetes worse and promotes many other diseases.

Learn to live on a low-fat diet

Fats include butter, margarine, oil, lard, bacon and cream, but the hidden fats ( in meat, sausage, cheese, milk and nuts ) must also be taken into account without fail. Your doctor will tell you how much fat per day you may take. This depends on your body weight and your occupation; age also plays a role.

The doctor stipulates the quantity of fat per day

The second major group in our food is protein. We find it in meat, fish, cheese, milk and eggs. But small quantities of protein are also found in food of plant origin, such as bread, potatoes and vegetables. You may be generous with proteins provided that you take lean products. Make the selection carefully.

Only use lean protein products

The purest carbohydrate is sugar. Sugar should not be taken except in cases where you need to produce a rapid rise in the blood sugar level, i.e. to reverse hypoglycaemia.

All cereal products, e.g. bread and rice, belong to the same group of carbohydrates as potatoes. The doctor will tell you how much of these you may eat daily.

Food and drink containing sugar should only be taken during a hypoglycaemic episode

You can make your diet very tasty by the use of spices. However, you should be sparing in the use of salt if you have high blood pressure.

Food low in salt if you have high blood pressure

Adequate exercise is part of the daily programme

In addition to eating the right food, physical exercise plays an important role in the treatment of diabetes. If you have a sedentary occupation at work, then you must see to it that this is made up for in your leisure time. Physical exercise lowers the blood sugar level.

Sport is good, but do not make top performance demands on your body; keep to a certain level in exercise also.

No top performance, but instead a uniform demand on the body

First the diet-then tablets or insulin

Should the observance of a diet, in combination with physical exercise and the removal of excess weight, not be adequate to normalize the blood sugar, then treatment with medicines begins. There are various types of diabetes mellitus; only the doctor can decide what type of treatment comes into consideration.

In order for you to better understand the decision of your doctor as to whether treatment with tablets or insulin is necessary, you should know that adequate insulin is formed in the pancreas of healthy persons.

As a rule of thumb, it may be said that in diabetic children and juveniles insulin is no longer produced in the pancreas; the diabetic must therefore inject himself with this insulin.

However, if diabetes does not occur until the 4th decade of life, then insulin is generally still present in the pancreas, but this insulin cannot become active. In these cases, treatment with tablets is carried out. Via the treatment with tablets, the body’s own insulin becomes active once more.

There are two forms of diabetes mellitus and hence different forms of treatment

Whether you have been stabilized on tablets or insulin, strict observance of the diet is always necessary. It is not possible to make up for dietary errors by additional tablets or more insulin. Keep strictly to the prescribed dosage and the time specified by your doctor.

Dosage and dosage time must be strictly adhered to

The tablets for treating diabetes should be taken just prior to or during a meal. They should never be taken together with alcoholic drinks.

Never take tablets together with alcohol!

Note the name of your tablets, and on no account change over to a different preparation without consulting your doctor.

Among the various medicaments there are considerable differences in the way in which they act and also in their potency. You should only take medicines for other illnesses with the knowledge, and at the direction of your doctor, for many medicines influence the blood sugar.

Continued in the hub

© 2008 Dr Kulsum Mehmood


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