Diabetes affects more than 29 million people in the US alone. This guide is an easy and simple way to let you learn about diabetes. These tips will also help you to realize if you might have Diabetes, and what you can do to make your life better, after a diagnosis.
1. Learning the basics
Well first off you need to know what diabetes actually is: Diabetes is a life long disease. It is associated with increased glucose levels in the body. There are two main types: type 1 and type 2, the first strikes during childhood, while the second mostly occur in middle age. Obviously exceptions can occur.
2. Knowing if you have diabetes
So, how do you know if you have Diabetes? Well obviously you could get lab tests done every second month; but neither your mind nor your pocket would teem that advisable. Therefore, knowing the signs is important. Diabetes has three major symptoms: Polydipsia (excessive thirst), Polyuria (excessive urine production) and polyphagia (increased eating). Other signs include blurred vision, slow wound healing, extreme tiredness and unexplained weight loss.
Well, if you feel you have these symptoms or even some of them; get yourself an appointment with your doctor (General Practitioner or a diabetes specialist, anyone will do). Once you have been examined to rule out any other diseases, you will be asked to get some labs done. Make sure you do get them done; they are vital to obtain a proper diagnosis. The majority of labs are from simple blood tests; so need to worry about a complex and scary procedure (such as an MRI). If you are diagnosed, regrettably other more targeted organ tests will follow.
4. Interpreting the results
You aren’t a doctor but you sure do need some basic knowledge just so you are not completely oblivious. If you do get diagnosed with Diabetes, unfortunately such tests would need to be done on a regular basis. HbA1c is a profile of how your glucose levels have been over the last 3-4 months: Some glucose binds to your red blood cells forming a specific type of red blood cell (HbA1c) and since red blood cells are renewed every 3 months approximately; this test gives a long term profile of how well your blood glucose levels have been controlled. Glucose (fasting or random) gives a ‘live’ level of glucose circulating in the blood stream at a specific time.
4. Dealing with a diagnosis
Look up! It is not the end of the world. Diabetes although not totally curable, is treatable if you follow the rules; millions suffer from Diabetes and the majority of which lead very happy lives. Fortunately, if you have not been diagnosed, keep in mind the possibility that a diagnosis can happen later on too. Knowing the reality is important: Diabetes will not just vanish, and if not controlled it can have horrendous consequences.
Hold your friends and family close at such a time. Being given the news is never easy, and it is best dealt with someone close to you. A support group is always helpful, and if not possible just talking to someone having diabetes, will let you be more ready for its day to day changes.
Of course, life style changes depend on how bad the disease actually is. There is only one goal: keep the blood glucose level in normal range to avoid any consequences. Dealing with the outcomes, which have already occurred is also important. Early stages can be treated by weight loss alone, so be sure to have a healthy BMI; exercise is key.
7. Reacting to Medications
If exercise alone, cannot keep glucose levels in normal range, drugs are started. As with all medications even the early drugs have side effects. If a side effect is particularly a problem, contact your doctor so he or she can change your medications to a different one more suitable to your body.
8. Be on time
If its one thing that all diabetics need to remember is that there is no place for laziness. Checkups and medications need to be taken on time. Failing to do so significantly increases the risk of the disease.
9. Changing habits
Everyone loves sweet sugar, but sweet turns to sour for diabetics; carbohydrates, which contain sugar, need to be kept to an absolute minimum. Accordingly say goodbye to stuff like soda, baked items and even juice. Artificial sugar is easily available, so it’s not all doom and gloom. It may not be a replacement but it certainly does help.
10. Blame Game
Naturally our first response is to blame someone for anything, which has gone wrong. Blaming has limited value; Diabetes has little modifiable risk factors. Obesity and genetics are the most significant ones, genetics cannot be changed, and well obesity; you have only got yourself to blame for that. So blaming will not help you over come any hurdles here. But a good diet will.
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