Understanding and Learning More about Diabetes

May 25, 2015

Diabetes 0

Diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal. This causes multiple complications such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, impaired eye sight, lower energy levels, and so on. Higher than normal blood sugar levels are called hyperglycemia. This can be caused either because the pancreas does not produce insulin or because the body is unable to use the insulin produced effectively.

Type I Diabetes

Children and young adults are diagnosed with Type I diabetes when their pancreas does not produce required amount of insulin. This is believed to be caused by hereditary factors. In such cases, the diabetic person needs to take insulin injections, monitor blood glucose levels, eat right, and exercise. This will enable them to lead a healthy and long life.

Type II Diabetes

Type II diabetes occurs in older adults. The majority of diabetics in the world are Type II diabetics. This condition is caused by lifestyle factors and hereditary. People who have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, and who do not exercise, and who consume a diet low in dietary fiber and high in starches are more likely to develop this condition. Type Ii diabetes is managed with oral medication or insulin, exercise, and diet control.

Understanding Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia is the condition where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal. This occurs when the body is unable to use the insulin to break down the glucose in the blood for energy. Initially, the pancreas responds by producing more insulin, but will soon be unable to cope. This condition is also called insulin resistance. When this happens, the body breaks down fat to produce energy. This also produces ketones, a toxic substance. If the body produces a lot of ketones, the kidneys are unable to remove them completely, causing diabetic coma or ketonosis. This can be fatal.

Managing Diabetes

Whether a person has Type I or Type II diabetes, they need to inject insulin to help the body break down the glucose in the blood and obtain energy. However, if the person has not taken sufficient carbohydrates or is working out intensively, there might not be sufficient blood glucose, leading to hypoglycemia. This can lead to dizziness and unconsciousness. As such a diabetic person has to monitor their blood glucose levels regularly and regulate their insulin dosage, carbohydrate levels, and exercise to achieve the right level of blood glucose.

Diet

While there is no specific diabetic diet, diabetics need to ensure that they eat a healthy diet keeping in mid portion sizes, carbohydrates consumed, and the glycemic index (GI) of the food they eat. The GI of foods indicates the speed at which they will add glucose to the blood after being eaten. As such foods with lower GIs release glucose into the blood at a slower pace than foods with high GIs.

Diabetics need to ensure that they eat foods with a lower GI level or reduce the amount of calories they consume. When making a meal plan, care should be taken to ensure that highly nutritional foods that are high in calories but have lower GIs are included. Generally, foods with a higher amount of dietary fiber have lower GIs and are considered healthier for most people.

High Fiber Diet

Only plant foods have fiber and including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and lentils in the diet will increase the fiber content of the meal. By including foods that have between 3 and 5 gms of fiber per serving, one can ensure that an adequate amount of dietary fiber is being consumed.

While diabetics can be managed, this needs conscious effort that includes a combination of exercise, diet control, and medication.



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