COVID-19 isn’t the only global pandemic the world is fighting. Unfortunately, we’re faced with several non-communicable diseases that affect more and more people around the world. One of these diseases is diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is considered to be the biggest pandemic in human history affecting more than 422 million people, the majority of whom (over 90%) suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that causes blood glucose levels to become too high due to problems with insulin production and the ways cells respond to this hormone. Although what causes diabetes type 2 is yet to be discovered, obesity and sedentary lifestyle are considered to be the two major risk factors.
What diabetes does to your body is in a way similar to what rust does to metal, it slowly destroys healthy organs in the body and stops them from functioning properly. If left untreated, diabetes can cause a number of life-threatening disorders of the nervous, circulatory and immune system.
The fact that there is still no cure for diabetes may sound discouraging, but you should know that with the right prescription medications, proper self-management and good lifestyle choices you can lead a long and healthy life. Continue reading to find out how you can manage diabetes type 2 and how to make things easier for yourself.
Prescription Medication and Insulin
In nearly all diabetes type 2 cases, people need some form of therapy to keep their glucose levels in check. This can be insulin or prescription pills. Insulin is not usually used in the first years after diagnosis, but your doctor may prescribe it if other medicines don’t work as desired. In Australia, there’re seven classes of prescription meds used to treat type 2 diabetes including biguanides, sulphonylureas, thiazolidinediones, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors, incretin mimetics and sodium-glucose transporter inhibitors.
If you’ve just been diagnosed, you may have many questions regarding therapy, such as “What the safest drug for type 2 diabetes is and how it can help you?” According to health care professionals, Metformin is both the safest and the most common drug prescribed to treat this disease. Metformin is a part of the group of biguanides and it may be taken as a standalone drug or in combination with other tablets or insulin. Since type 2 diabetes gradually progresses, your doctor may increase the doses of Metformin as required. Metformin tablets can help lower your blood glucose levels and balance the production of your own insulin.
However, your doctor is the one who should determine which of these medications are right for you and tell you exactly when and how much to take. And before you buy the adequate prescription medications for treating diabetes, make sure to inform your health care provider about other medical conditions you have and any other therapy you take including prescription drugs, OTCs and dietary supplements. It’s also a good idea to get informed about the possible side effects that diabetes medications may have.
Also, getting your prescription drugs online is worth considering when you’re battling diabetes while the dangers of Coronavirus are still lurking. As you may already know, people with diabetes are more likely to have severe symptoms and serious complications from COVID-19, so it’s best to avoid those long pharmacy queues and order your medications from the convenience of your own home.
After you start taking your diabetes medication or insulin shots, make sure you frequently monitor your blood glucose levels to ensure the meds are properly doing their job. You can do so in your own home with the help of a blood glucose meter. If you notice that your glucose levels are too low or too high, you need to immediately call your doctor and have the dose of your treatment readjusted.
Obesity is often interlaced with diabetes type 2. Losing excess weight is equally important for the prevention of diabetes type 2 and its management after it’s been diagnosed. If you’re overweight and have diabetes, losing as little as 5% of your body weight can lead to significant health improvement.
That’s because when you weigh less, your pancreas is better able to meet your body’s need for insulin. This can restore your glucose levels to normal which eliminates diabetes or it can lower your need for insulin and medication. Furthermore, losing weight can reduce your risk for other complications such as heart problems and nerve damage.
However, if you have diabetes you can’t just follow one of the fad diets that circle around the internet. You definitely shouldn’t starve yourself or follow a restrictive diet that focuses on one of the major food groups. It simple – you just need to build healthier eating habits and that leads us to the next tip on managing diabetes.
When it comes to diabetes, it’s extremely important to understand that there’s no such thing as one universal diet that suits everyone. Each body has unique needs which are determined by your age, lifestyle and current weight. A registered dietitian or nutritionist can help you put together a diet plan based on your goals in accordance with your recommended calorie intake.
The one thing that you’ll have to become especially good at is portion control and eating at regular times. For instance, if your recommended calorie intake is 1800kcal, you need to divide them into three main meals and 1 or 2 snacks. This will help you make better use of your insulin and it won’t cause sudden crashes or spikes in your blood sugar levels.
And of course, you’ll also need to know how to satisfy your sweet tooth without eating actual sugar. Now, this may have been a bummer in the past, but nowadays there’re tons of natural sweeteners to choose from. The most popular ones are stevia, erythritol, xylitol and the absolute winner – the zero-calorie monk fruit sweetener. If you want a natural sweetener that doesn’t change the taste of your drinks, monk fruit powder is your best choice.
Even though eating a healthy diet alone can have a huge positive impact on weight control and diabetes management, you can benefit even further from incorporating exercise in your daily routines. Apart from increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose levels, regular exercise can also improve your cholesterol, heart rate and blood pressure levels while boosting your immune system. If you combine both aerobic and weight training, you can also reduce your risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis in the future.
Before hitting the gym, you should know that if you have diabetes, you’ll need to take special precautions. If your carbohydrate intake or medication dose isn’t adjusted with the intensity of your workout, there might be sudden drops or spikes in your blood sugar levels. You should always monitor your blood sugar levels before and after your training to prevent any severe fluctuations. This will also help you understand how your body responds to different exercise routines, so you can adjust your exercise program to your needs.
Diabetic foot syndrome is the most common complication of type 2 diabetes. It occurs due to peripheral artery disease and/or diabetic neuropathy. The symptoms can include skin ulcers, wounds, tingling, pain or loss of feeling in the feet. Recognising and treating these symptoms in time is key to preventing even more severe complications such as infection or gangrene.
You should always check your feet for wounds or calluses, practice proper hygiene and wear comfortable socks and footwear at all times. Avoid walking barefoot because even the smallest pebble can cause a wound that’s hard to heal. If you happen to notice anything unusual with your feet such as pain or discomfort, you should immediately talk to your doctor and ask for advice.