Diabetes is the most common word spoken across the globe. Fatal and contagious than any of the disease ever to be seen by humanity. It doesn’t affect directly but surely undermines the body such that various other diseases get a free pass. It is a major public health problem that is approaching epidemic proportions globally. Worldwide, the prevalence of chronic, non-communicable diseases is increasing at an alarming rate. About 18 million people die every year from cardiovascular disease, for which diabetes and hypertension are major predisposing factors. Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin, which occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Normally, the pancreas (an organ behind the stomach) releases insulin to help your body store and use the sugar and fat from the food you eat. Diabetes can occur when the pancreas produces very little or no insulin, or when the body does not respond appropriately to insulin. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Therefore weakness, dizziness are prevalent among the diabetic. As of yet, there is no cure. People with diabetes need to manage their disease to stay healthy. Different kinds of diabetes can occur, and managing the condition depends on the type. Not all forms of diabetes stem from a person being overweight or leading an inactive lifestyle. In fact, some are present from childhood.
Three major diabetes types can develop, Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
- Type I diabetes: Also known as juvenile diabetes, this type occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent, which means they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.
- Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is the most common type of diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and it has strong links with obesity.
- Gestational diabetes: This type occurs in women during pregnancy when the body can become less sensitive to insulin. Gestational diabetes does not occur in all women and usually resolves after giving birth.
Less common types of diabetes include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
Since there is no cure, it doesn’t mean that you can’t live your life up to the fullest. Just a tight schedule can prove propitious. Some snacks to include in your diet to keep a close watch on the glucometer are-
- Fresh fruit and cheese- There’s a reason why the French are known for their fantastic fruit and cheese boards! Cheese is an excellent source of protein and pairs well with carbohydrate-rich fruit to provide energy without spiking blood sugars. Good pairings include apples with cheddar, Gouda and pears, or fresh mozzarella with peaches.
- Crunchy chickpeas- Gone are the days when chickpeas were only useful for making hummus! Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are an excellent source of fiber and protein and make for a nutrient-rich, mid-day snack. When roasted long enough, chickpeas become light and crunchy and make for a great replacement for potato chips.
- Hardboiled eggs- Eggs are a low-calorie snack packed with valuable nutrients, such as B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and protein. Hardboiled eggs make for a healthy, portable snack that will keep you full between meals. Pair with a small piece of fresh fruit if blood sugars are dipping low.
- Popcorn- Most popular for movie nights, popcorn is full of fiber and an excellent snack that won’t send blood sugars surge. However, not all popcorn is made with the same ingredients. Traditionally, microwaved popcorn can contain a ton of added sugars or partially-hydrogenated oils that take a toll on heart health. Look for brands that air pop their popcorn or use avocado oil, which is a source of heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Save the buttery topping or kettle corn varieties for special occasions.
There are several tips to fight diabetes. You can’t overcome this disease but surely could make peace with it. Diabetes is like an arduous trainer. He makes you do things that you should do to stay healthy and have a prolonged life.
- Get moving – Exercise helps build muscle and lower blood sugars. If going to a gym seems infeasible then you can consider purchasing a few weights since the best way to control your sugars and your scale is to do both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Besides, adding a 15- to 20-minute post-meal stroll can help fight sugar spikes.
- Embrace your blood sugars, good and bad – No one likes to have high blood sugar. But even if you’ve had a few highs, don’t act crestfallen and abandon tracking your glucose readings. Along with helping your doctor determine if your diet plan and medications are working, a record of blood sugar readings will help you to assess how food, activities, and stress impact your body. Do you need to add five minutes to your walk after eating pepperoni pizza? Are your bedtime snacks keeping you from morning lows? Only your blood glucose knows.
- Take a break – Consider yoga or meditation. Stress heavily affects blood sugars. Take time to read a book, take a nap, or talk to friends.
- Maintain cholesterol- You have two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. Too much bad cholesterol can cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels.
- Refrain from smoking- No smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because of both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Blood vessel narrowing makes your heart work harder. E-cigarettes aren’t a safe option either.