Diabetes - A Quick Read

Is your blood sugar level constantly high despite your best efforts?
Feeling more hungry and thirsty than usual and have lost weight without meaning to?

What is Diabetes?
  • consistently having abnormally high levels of blood sugar
Type of Diabetes
  • Type 1 Diabetes - insulin production is affected
  • Type 2 Diabetes - insulin resistance is not overcome
  • Prediabetes - borderline diabetic that can be managed with certain changes
  • Gestational Diabetes - high blood sugar during pregnancy
Signs and Symptoms
  • increase in urination (both frequency and output)
  • increasingly thirsty
  • unexplained weight loss or gain
  • increase in hunger
  • feeling tired and easily fatigued
  • skin problems like itchiness and slow healing of wounds
  • susceptible to fungal (yeast) infections
  • numbness in feet and tingling in the toes
  • frequent infections 
  • blurred vision
  • dehydration and dry mouth

Who are at risk of diabetes?
  • Overweight or obese and over 45 years of age with family history more likely for Type 2
  • inactive lifestyle
  • family history of Diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • high triglyceride (fat) levels in blood with low HDL 
  • Child or teenager with family history more likely for Type 1
  • Increasing age
  • Insulin resistance and low glucose tolerance
  • some ethnic backgrounds

How does it occur?
  • exact cause of Type 1 is unknown.
  • Type 2 - genetic and inability to produce enough insulin for the intake amount of glucose. Pancreas is unable to cope and excess glucose is circulated in the blood. Insulin becomes less effective over time for glucose uptake by the cells and sugar levels continues to rise. Eventually insulin resistance develops.

Trigger factors
  • Genetic 
  • Environmental and lifestyle practise
  • High consumption of unhealthy items
  • Pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure

Lifestyle adaptations
  • Try to lose weight if overweight
  • change dietary habits to include more fresh nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits*, vegetables
  • Avoiding sugary foods and liquid calories like from soft-drinks etc
  • Limiting or refraining the alcohol intake
  • Getting physically active with minimum of 30 minutes activity daily
  • Eat smaller portions at regular set times.
  • reduce trans and saturated fats and carbohydrate foods from diet
Diabetic Diet
(Picture credit:https://www.niddk.nih.gov)

  • eat balanced and smaller portion sizes 
Choose a smaller plate size and divide it with (as shown in the image) with half plate of non-starchy green vegetables with meat or alternative protein source (if vegan) on a quarter of the plate and grains or alternative on the remaining quarter.

  • meals are better divided over 5 or 6 meal sessions instead of 3 larger ones.
  • choose whole grain carbs over starchy carbs
  • choose lean protein and smart fats like avacado and nuts for cereals

  • limit or avoid alcohol where possible
  • limit foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt.
  • limit refined carbs like white bread, sugary cereals
  • avoid saturated and trans fat

A sample menu (Meni credit:https://www.mayoclinic.org)

When planning meals, take into account your size and activity level. The following menu is tailored for someone who needs 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day.

  • Breakfast. Whole-wheat bread (1 medium slice) with 2 teaspoons jelly, 1/2 cup shredded wheat cereal with a cup of 1 percent low-fat milk, a piece of fruit, coffee
  • Lunch. Roast beef sandwich on wheat bread with lettuce, low-fat American cheese, tomato and mayonnaise, medium apple, water
  • Dinner. Salmon, 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, small baked potato, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup green beans, medium white dinner roll, unsweetened iced tea, milk
  • Snack. 2 1/2 cups popcorn with 1 1/2 teaspoons margarine

  • Fasting plasma glucose tests or A1C test 
  • Random plasma glucose test
  • Random blood glucose tests
  • Glucose Challenge test
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glucometer tests
Monitoring glucose using self test meters
  • handle and keep the meter and strips dry and away from heat and sunlight, with clean dry hands. 
  • Do not mix strips with different meters and do not use a strip and lancet(pricking needles) more than once.
  • Do not use strips beyond expiry dates.
  • If meter requires coding, ensure the codes match before testing. Newer meters are mostly code-free and easier to use.
  • Clean and dry the finger tips with clean soapy water before testing.
  • Adjust depth level on lancet device before pricking.
  • Pricking on the sides of fingers are generally less painful.
  • Follow instructions supplied with the meter to begin the test process.

Treatment Options
  • Oral medications
    • Will lower the blood sugar levels and/or make the insulin more effective.
    • slows the bodys breakdown of sugar and starchy foods
    • reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver
    • increase the amount of glucose released in the urine
    • Increase the amount of insulin produced in the body and decreases glucose amount entering the bloodstream.
    • help the insulin to work better
  • Diabetic supplements
  • Insulin
    • Rapid acting - starts working within 15 minutes and lasts for 3 to 4 hours
    • Regular acting - starts working within 30 minutes and lasts 6 to 8 hours
    • Intermediate acting - starts working within 1 to 2 hours and lasts 12 to 18 hours
    • Long-acting - starts working few hours after injection and lasts 24 hours or longer
    • Mixed

Complications and concerns:
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Nerve damage (Microvascular and Macrovascular disease)
  • narrowing and hardening of arteries
  • strokes
  • doubles the risk of Heart diseases (coronory)
  • Diabetic coma
  • Hearing loss
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Hypoglycemia (self administration of insulin)
  • Decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction in men
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal infections
  • Skin conditions
  • Premature and higher birth weight and even stillbirth with Gestational Diabetes

All these and more are available at Health First pharmacy...visit us for all your health needs first...talk to us first!!!