Being probably the third most chronic illnesses in the countries of India and the United States and one of the leading causes of death (Centers for disease control and prevention, 2001), diabetes has proven over the recent years to be on the rise all over the world. Adults are not the only ones prone to it, the disease has been noted in children too; approximately 1 in every 400-600 children are diagnosed with diabetes.
But what is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic condition of impaired carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism that results from insufficient secretion of insulin or from insulin resistance – in short.
Insulin produced by the pancreas, acts essentially as a key to permit glucose to enter the cells of the body. It goes without saying that if insulin is of low quantity, glucose stays in the blood instead of entering the cells; prompting a condition called hyperglycemia. The body attempts to get rid of the excess glucose in the blood, yet the cells do not receive enough glucose so the body craves more food.
But here’s the thing. Diabetes manifests in two types: Type I & Type II. The former is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by the abrupt onset of symptoms that may result from lack of insulin production. The latter, on the other hand, is milder but is a disorder of middle and older age, predominantly seen to have stricken those over 40. But since the rise of obesity seems not to curb anytime in the near future, many children and adolescents are also now Type II diabetics.
So what measures does one have to take into consideration while coping with diabetes?
Diabetes hacks to keep the doc away
1. Exercise – Exercise and a stringent healthy diet must be followed, almost like a regimen. Goes without saying. Swimming is a given, but as fatigue is something that comes to the diabetes stricken individual more so, activities like routine walks are usually recommended.
2. Proper and exact food intake – Food intake has got to be relatively constant (calories) and the intake must not give way to temptation. The number of calories needed to maintain weight depends upon age, sex, height, weight, and activity level:
Men, Active Women: 15 cal/lb or 33 cal/kg
Women (on an average), Sedentary
Men, and Adults over 55 years: 13 cal/lb or 29 cal/kg
Sedentary Women, Obese Adults: 10 cal/lb or 22 cal/kg
Pregnant (Lactating) Women: 15 to 17 cal/lb or 33 to 38 cal/kg
3. Your recovery in your own hands – As is true of perhaps all chronic illnesses, the diabetic must be well prepared and adjusted to playing an active role in his/her recovery. More so as it has been proven that any intervention that focuses on improving self-efficiency and the ability to regulate, independently, one’s own behavior has the potential to improve adherence and glycemic control. (Williams, McGregor, Zeldman, Freedman & Deci, 2004).
5. Meditation and yoga – Find ways to get mind off matter. Hey, sometimes, you got to fake it till you become it. Meditation, yoga and massages are known to help. The mind, is, after all, the powerhouse of the body. Whatever is deemed to happen in the mind is definitely something that finds itself affecting bodily processes.
6. Evening primrose oil – A lesser known fact is that the evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) oil might help prevent and treat diabetic neuropathy; teas made out of peppermint, chamomile, and passionflower all have soothing properties and encourage relaxation – a fact that many vouch for.
7. Have strong sense of support – Diabetics should, as any in a situation beckoning for support, be entrusted in the care of individuals who happen to allow for a strong sense of support, appreciation and a keen eye on monitoring of behavior of the person in question.
8. Have a sensitive and positive environment – The depression that is often known to accompany the dealing with recovery poses a major challenge. It cannot be stressed much more that the more the environment is prearranged in such a way as to be sensitive to the changes in the person and his support systems’ liabilities, the better it is to ensure stabilization of body vitals.
9. Psychological and social factors – The prominence of Health Psychologists in the hour of need cannot be more accredited for. Their help is noted in the delineation of problems in achieving control over diabetes (Glasgow & Anderson, 1995) and with the identification of complicating psychological and social factors not yet identified that may compromise the treatment of diabetes (Talbot, Nouwen, Gingras, Gosselin &Audet, 1997).
10. Treatment with stem cells – With regards to Type I diabetes, treatment with stem cells made from the patient’s own blood may prove to be promising. Also, one might have to keep the patient as an actively involved comanager in the treatment of the disease.
11. Controlling blood sugar options – When it comes to controlling one’s own blood sugar, it is mandatory to take into regard exercise as a way of life. Adding cinnamon to intake helps as well in increasing insulin sensitivity. Eating the prescribed calorie of meals at a tandem of twice or thrice a day also helps.
Insulin injections are also well recommended.
Controlling blood-glucose levels with these methods would well enhance the keeping of bay of diabetes related diseases such as eye disease, kidney disorders and the like by more than 50%.12. Complete recovery possible? As diabetes mellitus is classified a chronic disease (persistent effect over long durations of time), it is to be notified that there is no certainty of a cure, unless much specified conditions have been ascertained. Though, with proper management and effective treatment, it can be maintained within a particular threshold.
13. Effects of diabetes, if not controlled – The thing with Diabetes is that it entails long-term complications if not checked beforehand. For instance, 75% of deaths of diabetics is due to coronary-artery disease. Diabetic nephropathy (damage to the kidneys), diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eyes) and most commonly, diabetic neuropathy (damage to the nerves of the human body) are the dire consequences of leaving the disease unchecked.
Diabetic foot ulcers are also fairly common, with drastic measures for relief leading to amputation as well. More so, there is noted to be a cognitive stunt in growth with the disease left uncontrolled to wreak havoc in the system.
Disclaimer: Make sure that this generic advice is good for you in all manners. All the suggestions, diet plans, and tests must be cross-checked with your doctor as they may vary based on your medical history or health conditions. Hence, it is advisable to consult a doctor before adhering to any of them.
Glasgow, R. E.,& Anderson, B. J. (1995). Future Directions for Research on Pediatric Chronic Disease Management: Lessons from Diabetes. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 20(4), 389–402. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/20.4.389
Talbot, F., Nouwen, A., Gingras, J., Bélanger, A., &Audet, J. (1999). Relations of diabetes intrusiveness and personal control to symptoms of depression among adults with diabetes. Health Psychology, 18(5), 537–542. doi:10.1037/0278-6188.8.131.527
Voltarelli, J. (2007). Stem cell trials. New Scientist, 194(2605), 26. doi:10.1016/s0262-4079(07)61296-2
Williams, G. C., McGregor, H. A., Zeldman, A., Freedman, Z. R., &Deci, E. L. (2004). Testing a Self-Determination Theory Process Model for Promoting Glycemic Control Through Diabetes Self-Management. Health Psychology, 23(1), 58–66. doi:10.1037/0278-6184.108.40.206