Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Diabetes Knowledge

Managing Diabetes

I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes (gestational diabetes is temporary) at the age of 21, when I was pregnant with my first child. Then again three years later with my second child. I developed type 2 diabetes approximately 8-9 years ago. I'm now at the middle age of 43. During pregnancy and until the fall of 2005, I was not managing my diabetes. I suffered high glucose levels averaging in the 300's and higher. My general medicine doctor finally referred me to a specialist or an Endocrinologist. For the first time in my diabetic life I am managing my blood sugars with oral antidiabetic drugs (Metformin) and insulin therapy (Lantus) to maintain normal glucose levels.

I would like to give you words of knowledge and share my steps to achieve this wonderful feeling of being in control. I hope this can help those out there suffering with significantly elevated glucose levels (hyperglycemia).

What is Type 2 Diabetes? When you have type 2 diabetes, your body is unable to properly use the sugar called glucose. Glucose is created when your body breaks down food to use for energy. Your body uses glucose as its main source of fuel with the help of a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts like a key to unlock the body's cells, so glucose can enter and serve as fuel for the cells. This is how most people's bodies maintain a fairly normal amount of sugar in the bloodstream.

That's not the case with type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can't maintain normal sugar levels. This happens either because the body doesn't make enough insulin, or because the body can't use its own natural insulin properly - a process called insulin resistance. High blood sugar sets off processes that can lead to complications, like heart, kidney, and eye disease, or other serious problems. The good news is that healthy eating, exercise, and possibly, medications can help.

Visit this site for more information: http://www.diabetes.com/

Who's on Your Health Care Team? No matter what type of diabetes you have, it affects many parts of your life. You can get help from health professionals trained to focus on different areas, from head to toe. A health care team helps you use the health care system to its fullest.

You. You are the most important member of your health care team. Your health care team depends on you to talk to them honestly and to tell them how you feel. You may need to work with your doctor to build a health care team, adding members as the need arises. Self-monitoring via self-adminitered glucose testing using a glucose monitor is an essential element of any diabetes management program.

The PrimaryCare Doctor. A primary care or family practice doctor is who you see for general checkups and when you get sick. A doctor with special training in diseases such as diabetes is called an endocrinologist. Endocrinologist also requires caring for the person as well as the disease. Your primary care doctor may also be the one who refers you to specialists or other team members. Make sure you feel comfortable talking about the details of your health and lifestyle with this doctor. Your doctor's support is important. After the visit, ask yourself:

  • Did the doctor really listen to my concerns?
  • Was the doctor concerned about my diabetes control?
  • Did the doctor answer my questions?

Registered Dietician. A registered dietician (RD) or Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) is trained in nutrician. If your doctor does not work with a dietician, ask him to refer you to one. Your dietician helps you figure out your food needs based on your desired weight, lifestyle, medication, and other health goals (such as lowering blood fat levels or blood pressure). Even if you've had diabetes for many years, a visit to the dietician can help. Dietitians can also help you learn how:

  • the foods you eat affect your blood sugar and blood fat levels
  • to balance food with medications and activity
  • to read food labels
  • to make a sick day meal plan
  • to plan meals
  • to plan for eating out and special events
  • to include ethnic or foreign foods into your meals
  • to find good cookbooks
  • to make food substitutions

Eye Doctor. This doctor is another key member of your health care team, because diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eyes. The eye doctor will be either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. You should see your eye doctor at least once a year. These checkups are the best way to detect diabetic eye disease. Your eye doctor will check for any changes in your eyes.

Podiatrist. This health professional is trained to treat feet and problems of the lower legs. Diabetes makes you prone to poor blood flow and nerve damage in the lower legs. You may get infections more often. Sores, even small ones, can quickly turn into serious problems. Any foot sore or callus needs to be checked by your primary care doctor or a podiatrist. Inspect your feet daily for signs of trouble.

Dentist. People with diabetes are at greater risk for gum disease. The excess blood sugar in your mouth makes it a good home for bacteria, which leads to infection. See your dentist every six months. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.

Exercise Physiologist or Trainer. Exercise plays a major role in your diabetes care, no matter which type of diabetes you have. Exercise can help lower blood sugar, help your body better use insulin, and help control your weight. It can also improve your blood fat levels, reduce stress, and improve your overall fitness level. The best person to help you and your doctor plan your fitness program is someone trained in the scientific basis of exercise. Always get your doctor's approval for any exercise program.

1 comment:

dragonfly said...

And don't forget to LAY OFF THE DAMN McDONALDS!!!! All that fast food, and almost anything you fry or prepare from out of a box is WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!! I get sad AND mad whenever I see a 'Grimace' -- you know, a big huge fat [often ashy] black person who is so obese they can barely walk and can't breathe without snoring -- knowing they are tragically unhealthy, walking with a bag of McDonald's, or Burger King, or any other fast 'food' crap. Even worse when their kid is alongside them with a damn happy meal. Call it a 'sad meal.' Calll it a 'I'm-a-junior-diabetic-in-the-making' meal. Nutritionally speaking, it is pornography. You all DO remember Grimace, right...? Hmmm... wonder why they don't show him in commercials anymore...? Maybe because he looks like their victims, or their future. See 'Super Size Me' and read 'Fast Food Nation' by Eric Schlosser. An eye opening on how food is killing us. Should be required reading and viewing for every diabetic and 4th grader in this country.


ps -- don't get me wrong -- I'm scared to death that I might end up with diabetes myself. With my lifestyle, I go long periods in the day without eating. And Pepsi stocks all the campus stores and vending with high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweetners that are even worse. Sister can't even get a bottle of seltzer water. They tryin' to kill us and make mad money off the medications before they kill us, y'all...