Be in the Know – Let’s Talk ABC’s of Diabetes

Be in the Know - Let's Talk ABC's of Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that can contribute to several health complications and diminish the quality of life in people living with uncontrolled blood sugars. Type 2 is the most prevalent form of Diabetes. Insulin, a very important hormone, is responsible for storing glucose in different cells. When there is lack of insulin or insulin inactivity due to several  reasons, the body’s ability to perform the functions of usage and storage is diminished and the disease manifests. Without proper interventions as lifestyle modifications and medicines, diabetes can lead to several complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness etc. Genes do play an important role, but lifestyle factors have a significant role to play in the development of prediabetes and diabetes. 

 Factors that contribute to the development of the disease  ( Type 2 )

  • Obesity or being overweight

  • Ethnic background

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Family history

  • Gestational Diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

  • Polycystic ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

  • Impaired Sugar/glucose tolerance, Prediabetes

  • Insulin resistance

What do we do:

  • Talk to your doctor about your risk for diabetes 

  • Get your blood Sugars checked regularly especially if diabetes runs in your family. Be proactive and don’t wait until you have the diagnosis of Diabetes.

    • Ask for an A1C check 

    • If you are in prediabetes range, make sure you implement lifestyle modifications and check with an MD for a referral to a Registered dietitian/diabetes educator and care specialist 

    • Your risk for complications (kidney disease, heart disease, etc.) will go up if you have  multiple risk factors

      • High BMI 

      • High Blood pressure

      • High cholesterol

  • Remember some of us may have insulin resistance even with normal weight leading to high blood sugars: learn how to plan meals with the help of a Registered Dietitian. 

  • The 4 M’s of Managing Diabetes: Meals, movement, monitoring, medication 

    • Meals: Patient specific meals planned carefully by your RD!

      • General Guidelines: More veggies, moderate complex carbs, healthy protein/protein substitutes, and a moderate amount of healthy fats. Don’t fall for sample meals or a specific diet that might have worked for someone else. 

    • Monitor: Ask your doctor about a monitoring schedule. RDs/diabetes educators can be great resources. It is SO important for you to be able to see how different foods affect your blood sugars! There are a variety of continuous glucose monitoring systems that can allow you to accomplish this. You will become a pro and will grow to have more flexibility with meal planning.

    • Medication: Being on medications is not a bad thing, medications and lifestyle regimen help in preventing complications ! Be compliant and stay on it. 

    • MOVEMENT: Work with a trainer to increase your muscle strength and endurance levels. Muscle strength increases insulin sensitivity which helps in blood sugar control. Move move move!

Patients with diabetes should be extra vigilant especially at this time. Do not neglect your health. Contact your doctor if blood sugars are trending high. Fever, infection, stress and some meds  can raise your blood sugars. Understand that you can reach your Doctor using confidential email,phone communication etc.Be familiar with specific methods of communication that your MD office is using.. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE SICK AND SYMPTOMATIC, BE VIGILANT WITH LIFESTYLE- WATCH CALORIES AND CARB INTAKE, MOVE, TAKE MEDS, MONITOR AND COMMUNICATE WITH HEALTHCARE TEAM AS NEEDED. 

General resources:

Healthy eating guide: 

https://www.eatright.org/health/diseases-and-conditions/diabetes/eating-right-with-diabetes 

Healthy Indian meals:

www.jcscwellness.org/media/appiguide.pdf 

Reference sheet to global foods:

https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/culture-and-traditions/global-foods-for-a-healthy-plate 

South Asian Indians meals: 

www.jcscwellness.org/media/appiguide.pdf 

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