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How Can We Prevent The Complications of Diabetes?

 

diabetes

How Can We Prevent The Complications of Diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

In simple words, when you have diabetes your blood sugar level (glucose) is higher than normal. The blood sugar levels are controlled by a hormone called insulin. When we eat food the blood sugar level increases, body secretes insulin and helps us to use sugar for production of energy. In patients with diabetes, the absence or insufficient production of insulin or inability of the body to use insulin properly results in high levels of glucose. There are many more reasons how one can end up with diabetes. I want to focus on how we can prevent the complications of diabetes.

What is glucose?

It is a sugar found in food that is a very important nutrient to produce energy for proper functioning of body cells. When we eat carbohydrates they are broken down to glucose which is then absorbed into the blood and carried through blood to cells where it is utilized. Insulin aids us in using sugar. Without insulin, cells cannot use glucose in spite of it being present in blood. The unused glucose is then excreted through urine.

What is the indication for diabetes?

You are thirsty all the time, increased urination, increased appetite and weight loss. Prolonged untreated diabetes can result in blurred vision. But why wait that long for diabetes to cause blurred vision when a simple urine test or blood test can diagnose it? Why not take five minutes off every year to drop that blood sample or urine sample to check if the blood sugar level is in control.

Fasting glucose test is preferred:

When a person is fasting the glucose level in blood is generally less than 1oomg/dl. Fasting glucose levels of more than 126mg/dl in 2 or more tests on different days indicates diabetes. If not fasting a blood sugar level of 200mg/dl or higher in 2 or more test on different days indicates diabetes.

Once you are diagnosed with diabetes it is essential that you see your doctor regularly to make sure that your sugar level is in control. Try not to skip the medicine. Balanced diet, exercise and medication together help reduce long term complication of diabetes. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can cause severe damage to kidney, eyes and nerves. Diabetic patients are very prone infections. Small injuries can turn into big infections.It is very important that the diabetic patient takes every small wound seriously.

Technology has made it very easy for us they have a small machine with which you can check blood sugar level at home everyday to make sure your diabetes is in control.

Areas to watch for:

Feet:

Check your feet constantly, wash them every day, and dry them between your toes. Apply lotion to keep them from cracking. Take care of your nails. Wear socks and shoes all the time. If you notice a wound or fungal infection in your foot take it seriously. Consult a doctor because you may need antibiotics. Remember prevention is better than cure.

Teeth:

Have regular dental check up’s, if you have cavities get them fixed. Small infection in a tooth can make you end up in the hospital. Don’t let it go that far. If you have a tooth that cannot be saved get it removed.

Skin:

Watch out for dry skin. Keep checking for any cracks, boils, itchiness and redness. Dry yourself properly after shower. Apply lotion to keep your skin moist. Consult a doctor if you see anything unusual

Treatment:

Diabetes treatment depends upon type and severity of disease. Some are treated with weight reduction, diet control, exercise while other need medication too. Doctor will decide the line of treatment.

From all the reading I did I concluded that it is very important to have regular check up. If your family member is diabetic you are at a higher risk to get it. Early diagnosis is very important. They have excellent medications nowadays to control blood sugar level and infection. You just need to be responsible. Controlled diabetes will not kill you but persistent untreated high sugar levels will damage your eyes, kidney and nerves, so take control. Healthy diet and exercise will help control the sugar level. Stop smoking.

When I came to America I wondered why people got themselves checked every year even though they were healthy. The reason, they want to diagnose any problem as soon as possible so that they can take care of it at an early stage. Every year they draw blood and take urine samples and get their blood pressure checked, to check for any sign of disease. The blood and urine samples give them an idea about how the liver and kidneys are functioning. It also allows them to check for cholesterol levels and other elements in the blood. In other words, it is like a detailed check up to see if all parts of your body are functioning well.

Diet:

Your Doctor or dietitian will advise you what kind of diet you should take.

Here are some tips:

  • Eat small meals every 2-3 hours.
  • Try to choose healthy carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and low fat dairy products.
  • Foods that have high content of dietary fiber help reduce risk of heart disease and help control blood sugar level. Foods high in fiber include vegetables fruits. nuts, legumes, whole wheat flour.
  • Try to eat fish two times a week. Eat chicken instead of red meat. Avoid frying the fish and chicken.
  • Restrict or reduce the amount of refined and simple carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, table sugar.
  • Avoid juices, cakes biscuits as much as you can it has very high content of sugar. If you have a diabetic friend, do him or her a favor. Don’t offer them sweet foods.
  • Choose fruits for dessert. Avoid high fat products.
  • These are fruits you can choose over others. They have high fiber content: apples, pears, apricot and blueberries . Grapefruit is another fruit than can be beneficial for diabetics.
  • Fruits you want to avoid include mango, bananas, dates, grapes and watermelon.

Again I would like to emphasize that I am a dentist this is just basic information to help people take care of themselves and family and friends who have diabetes.

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Dr. Humairah

Dr. Humairah Shah is a dentist by profession and works in Torrance, California (USA). She has been working exclusively with children for the past 11 years.

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