Diabetes is the most common disease that affects the hormonal systems of the body. The disease occurs as a result of the body’s inability to make insulin or the lack of response due to insulin. There are three types of diabetes including:
Type 1 diabetes occurs because the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system. People with type 1 diabetes need daily insulin therapy. Type 1 diabetes occurs in people who are under the age of 20 but can occur at any time in a person’s life.
Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes. Type 2 occurs when the insulin produced by the pancreas is not adequate or the body does not recognize the insulin and cannot use it properly. The majority of type 2 diabetes occurs in adults over 40 who are overweight. Most cases of type 2 can be prevented. The disease is sometimes called adult onset diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs when the hormones caused by pregnancy effect the body’s ability to use insulin properly. This form of diabetes occurs in about 4% of pregnancies. Increased risk for gestational diabetes occurs when the woman is over 25 years old and overweight. The risk also increases in those who have a history of diabetes in their family.
Diabetes is a strong disease, but with proper care, fighting diabetes doesn’t have to be an upheal struggle. It is possible to manage and maintain this condition with proper medical assistance and guidance. The National Institute of Health recommends treating your diabetes based upon the following 7 principles:
1. Become a student of the disease
Knowledge is power. Being ignorant of the disease will not make it subside or go away. You’ve got to become educated so you know what you’re fighting. You should know what type of diabetes you have, the symptoms, and how to treat the disease. There are several myths out there about diabetes which can lead to serious health risks because of a lack of accurate information.
2. Get regular care
The advances in technology and health care have allowed many people who suffer from diabetes to live normal active lives. People with type 2 diabetes can even eliminate the disease through proper diet and exercise. You should see your physician regularly about your diabetic treatment plan and let them know what is working and what isn’t.
3. Be disciplined about controlling diabetes daily
Patients should learn to take medication daily, check their feet, know their blood pressure, and cholesterol, get plenty of exercise, and stop bad habits such as smoking. Undisciplined patients have far more health problems and much higher mortality rates because of sloppy living. It’s what you do day to day that will have the greatest impact on your long term health and diabetes management.
4. Know your diabetec ABC’s
The ABC’s of diabetes are A1c (blood glucose average), Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. These readings are vital information on the state of your diabetes. The major goal of diabetic treatment is to control these numbers. To control your ABC’s you should follow the diet plan that was prescribed by your doctor. Cheating on the diet can have adverse health effects ranging from dizzy spells to cardiac arrest and even death.
You should also take your prescribed medications as prescribed. Skipping days or not taking the right dosage renders them ineffective and dangerous. You should also check with your doctor if you plan on taking any new medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbs that may affect your ABC levels.
5. Get the A1c test
This test is usually administered by your doctor. It measures how well your blood glucose levels have been managed over the prior three months. You should have this test taken at least twice a year.
6. Check your own blood glucose
Check your own levels on a routine basis and keep track of the numbers in a journal. Look for patterns that may help you identify good and bad behaviors. Consult with your doctor on how best to self administer the test.
7. See a physician regularly for a battery of tests covering long term complications of diabetes
Diabetes can cause several long term health problems. It is recommended that you get the following tests on a yearly basis:
- Eye exam
- Comprehensive foot exam
- Urine test
- Dental exams
Living with diabetes does not have to be a death sentence. With proper care and education you can still live a long happy life.