The feeling of being diagnosed with diabetes is not a pleasant one. Be as it comes with shock, dismay and sadness, it is not as simple as a common cold, it involves medication, a change of lifestyle and diet, but it is not the end of the world or your life, because there is no shame in being diagnosed with diabetes. It happens to millions of people around the world. At least 1 in 12 Sri Lankans are Diabetic, You are Not Alone.
There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Type 1 being the most severe type of diabetes as your body stops producing insulin. That means you will have to take insulin every day. Type 2 is the more common one (nearly 90% of all cases), whereas gestation diabetes mostly occurs in women during pregnancy. Whichever of these happens, diabetes is something to be concerned about and treated right.
After many years, diabetes can lead to serious problems with your eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels if it is uncontrolled.
How Do I Live with It?
It’s easy to feel sad, overwhelmed or even angry when diagnosed with diabetes. The whole overhaul of diet plans and lifestyle changes can really be a problem, but these are steps you need to take. One of the hardest is probably sticking to that dietary restrictions. By following a strict yet comfortable regimen for coping with your diabetes, the following can be done;
Think well – Stress can raise your blood sugar. Learn to reduce your stress by taking breaks, deep breathing, taking a walk, doing your hobbies or listening to music. Talk to someone if you feel down. A friend, a family member, they can really make a change. Even talking to a professional counsellor will help overcome some of the more serious issues you face post-diagnosis.
Eat well – This is the most important factor which controls how your diabetic condition affects your body. Make sure to have a meal plan with help from your dietician. Fill it with food that is lower in calories, saturated fat, sugar, and salt. Incorporate more food with fibre, such as whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, or pasta as well as fruits, vegetables, whole grains bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese. It would be wise to get a healthy meal plan to help maintain this habit so your diet adapts to suit your health. Your family too can join in this diet. There is no such thing as diabetic food or a diabetic diet. A healthy and balanced diet with more careful planning can be beneficial for the whole family.
Drink well – Our bodies need water to survive. Drink water instead of juices or fizzy drinks.
Stay fit – Your body needs a constant state of maintenance and functionality to stay healthy. Set a few simple fitness goals such as walking and jogging. Increase your muscle strength every day with a few push-ups, yoga and stretching exercises at home helps too. This helps balance your weight to a healthy level as well.
Simple changes can help as well. Take stairs instead of elevators, park further away and walk to where you have to go.
Take your meds – Take your medicine for diabetes and any other health problems, even on days when you feel good or feel you need not take them. If any of your medicine gives you any side effects, always mention it to your doctor before you proceed. Also make sure to tell your doctor if you are unable to afford your medicine, as there are many local medical schemes set by the government which provide free medication. Also do not forget to do regular checkups of your blood pressure and blood sugar level. Regularly checking your health indicators will help your doctor understand if the medicine you are taking is suitable for you or decide on what steps to take in case you need to change your medication to fit your condition better.
Stay clean – Always maintain a sense of cleanliness to yourself. Wear clean, neat clothes and keep your body feeling fresh. Always make sure you treat any cuts, blisters or sores as soon as you can before they get worse. Brush your teeth and keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. Check your feet regularly, a mirror may help. When you have diabetes you may not notice when you have cuts or blisters especially on the soles of your feet.
Stop smoking – Smoking kills, diabetes or not, enough said. Every cigarette smoked takes a day from your lifespan, so it’s high time to quit.
Always feel free to consult your doctor for a safe and healthy meal plan, physical activity to do as well as to conduct regular checkups on your fitness, health and medication plan.
You are the most important member of your health care team, so plan it wisely. Diabetes does not mean the end; it is the start of taking steps to ensure a happy and health-maintained life ahead. That change starts with you.