Know the Facts to Stop Diabetes
If you want to lower your risk of having diabetes, it is important to make healthy food choices. This article discusses the basic facts about diabetes and what a person should do to avoid it.
Most people who feel sick think that a doctor will provide the answer to their woes — that he can diagnose and solve their every health problem. Well, with some cases, it’s not that simple.
There are many ailments that doctors refer to as silent predators. They are called thus because they show only a few or no early warning symptoms at all. Diabetes is one of these silent predators. About 24 million Americans are affected by diabetes, but sadly, 25 percent of them don’t even know it.
What Is Diabetes?
Breaking down food into glucose or simple sugar provides our body cells with the needed energy. It is the job of the hormone insulin to transport the glucose to the cells via the bloodstream. When the body lacks insulin or it isn’t functioning the way it should, blood sugar levels go up because the glucose remains in the blood.
Diabetes is classified into three: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Children, teens and young adults usually have type 1 diabetes. It develops when the pancreas fails to produce insulin. Pregnant women who are about to give birth usually have gestational diabetes, but the condition disappears as soon as the baby is born.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Who are at risk of type 2 diabetes? People who are overweight; sedentary; have a family history of diabetes; are either African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander; had gestational diabetes or had delivered a baby weighing over 9 pounds; suffering from high blood pressure; have low HDL or high triglyceride levels; and pre-diabetic.
What Makes Diabetes Dangerous?
According to Washington Hospital Center’s outpatient diabetes program coordinator, Claudia L. Morrison, RD, poorly controlled diabetes can cause too high or too low blood glucose levels, which makes individuals feel ill. When left untreated, eventually the diabetic patient will develop varying health issues from head to foot. Complications arising from diabetes can be very serious, such as heart disease and stroke, while some diabetics develop problems with their eyes, nerves, kidneys, or reproductive organs.
How Do Diet Affect Diabetic Patients?
Dr. Elizabeth Ricanati, the medical director of Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 Program in Cleveland, states that the type of food a person consumes can either promote or prevent diabetes, depending on how well glucose processing goes. Processed foods, foods that have high trans fats or saturated fats content and sweet or sugary foods can raise cholesterol and blood sugar levels, respectively. Individuals at high risk of developing diabetes should make every effort to avoid them.
The above-mentioned foods can disrupt the glucose-insulin balance in the body. It causes inflammation and contributes to an individual’s being overweight.
Diabetics also need to be careful with carbs intake. The body uses carbohydrates as fuel, but carbs are different from each other. One elevates blood glucose levels while another do not depending on its glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index uses white bread, for example, as a reference to rank foods. Classified as low GI foods include non-starchy vegetables, dry beans, legumes, whole-grain breads and cereals.
What is Healthy Living Like to a Person with Diabetes?
A healthy diet is in fact for everyone, not just diabetics. The goal is to avoid weight gain, so be sure to observe the following practices. Eat the right amount or portion size of food; eat fruits and vegetables; drink only eight ounces of juice per day; choose whole grain foods and avoid processed foods; choose fish, lean meat, beans and legumes for protein; use liquid oils when cooking. Limit your intake of foods that are high in saturated fats and calories; examples include snacks and desserts like chips, ice cream and cake. Completely avoid foods with trans fats.
In addition, exercising for 30 minutes on most days every week is important. If overweight, a person needs to lose 5 to 10 percent of his body weight. This is a must if one is to lower his risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lastly, any person who experiences any one or combination of these symptoms of diabetes should consult a doctor for a blood test: frequent urination, excessive thirst or hunger, inexplicable weight loss, tiredness, blurry eyesight and recurring infections. By choosing to live a healthy life and paying attention to early warning signs of diabetes, it is possible to keep the condition in check.
Photo source: Alan Levine via Flickr, CC by 2.0