Q. Glen, What are some of the Complications of Diabetes?
A. in keeping with the latest research on diabetes, which shows that taking early and aggressive steps to achieve tight control of your blood glucose levels -- by eating right and exercising, for instance -- pays off big time.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects the body’s ability to effectively use insulin, an important hormone that enables blood sugar to enter the body’s cells and be converted to energy. The result is an elevated level of glucose, or sugar, in the blood, which damages the body.
Type 2 diabetes in America
Early diagnosis and fast action are best. An estimated 20.8 million people, or 7% of the U.S. population, currently have the disease, but of that total, only 14.6 million know it. This is because type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed years after its onset, giving the disease a head start in causing damage. The result? Serious complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, erectile dysfunction, infections, and more.
According to Kenneth Snow, MD, acting chief of the adult diabetes section at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible may prevent or slow the progress of these complications. Snow offers five key steps you can take right now to help achieve this goal.
Lose 10 pounds. “More than 80% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are obese, but people find the idea of losing 40 or 50 pounds daunting. Just losing 10 pounds is doable and will have a huge impact on blood glucose levels,” Snow says.
There are two dietary keys to achieving this goal, he says: Making wise choices about what you eat and limiting portion size. “Spend a little time weighing and measuring your food to learn how much you’re eating. Read the labels. People see that a serving size of cereal is 110 calories, so they just pour it into a large bowl and figure they’re eating 110 calories when they are really eating about 350,” he says.
Increase your activity. “I avoid the word ‘exercise.’ Exercise is fantastic, but it’s very difficult for people to do, at least initially, and sustain. But everyone can add activity to their daily lives,” Snow says.
Some ideas: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work on the 10th floor, you can take the elevator to the ninth and walk up a flight, he notes. Walking is extremely beneficial, so Snow tells his patients to buy a pedometer to measure their daily steps. “Set yourself a goal. Try to get to 10,000 steps a day. If you’ve been sedentary, your goal might be 4,000 steps.” Recently, a CDC study found 52% of people with diabetes also have arthritis. While this may make exercise more difficult for some, people with arthritis can do many low-impact activities, such as walking or swimming. Keeping active helps both conditions, Snow notes.
If you smoke, quit. “If you have diabetes and smoke, that’s slow suicide,” says Snow, who adds that smoking accelerates the onset of every single diabetes complication. Ask your doctor for help to break the habit.
Relax. If you’re under stress, your body can react physically; this is known as the “fight or flight” response, and it can adversely affect blood glucose levels. However, Snow says, “it isn’t only the stress itself, it’s how people respond. Usually, people under stress don’t eat right, so stress impacts in that way.” Stress relievers such as meditation, deep breathing, and relaxation exercises can help.
Monitor your blood glucose levels. Snow prefers the word “monitor” to “test” because test has a pass-fail connotation, which sends the wrong message, he says. “You want to check to see what your blood sugar is doing at different times of the day. That way, you’ll know whether the changes you are making are successful.”
These steps can help you achieve tight glucose control, something Anne Tierney knows a lot about. “I don’t use large plates anymore; I eat my food out of little ramekins,” she says. She exercises on a treadmill and an elliptical trainer, and she lifts weights. And what about the chocolate? “I still eat it, but only the sugar-free kind.”
The payoff is that her high blood glucose levels fell so much she’s now classified as “prediabetic.” According to Snow, this doesn’t happen to everyone, but is a possibility when diabetes is caught early and treated vigorously.
Says Tierney, “I was very fortunate to get my blood glucose levels under control. I’m not going back.”
Of course, good medical care is also key in controlling blood glucose levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, make sure you get regular checkups for potentially serious complications. Doing so will help prevent heart attacks and strokes (the most common causes of death among people with diabetes) as well as kidney disease and blindness. In addition, be sure you get your blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney function, and eyes checked on a regular basis, as all of these can be affected by your type 2 diabetes
Bottom Line! I am a Diabetic.....Do This!!!!Nuff Said
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