Just monitoring your glucose levels might not be enough. Here is all that you need to do to avert complications.
For a diabetic, the new year hardly changes anything; your sugar levels are going to be as notorious as it was the previous year. Well, that’s not true, experts and doctors have been stressing the importance of diabetes management for too long, claiming that doing the right things at the right time can help control blood sugar level and also save one from the complications of diabetes. Dr Sanjay Verma, MD (Internal Medicine) and Consultant Diabetologists, Apollo Sugar, Delhi explains what you need to do this year to keep your blood sugar level under control.
1. Keep a tab on your sugar levels: This seems cliché, but what better way to keep your sugar level under control. The first step towards managing diabetes is to invest in a good glucometer. Measure your blood glucose level four times a day – fasting (before breakfast), two hours after breakfast, before dinner and two hours after dinner. Don’t miss doing this on weekends. Not everyone would need to monitor blood sugar so meticulously, but if your sugar level keeps fluctuating and touches 200 mg/dL and is hard to tame, it is better to keep a tab so you can take necessary action. Also, go for a HbA1C once in three months to get a better review of your blood sugar status over the months. Read to know what should be your normal blood sugar reading.
2. Make urine tests a habit: Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to chronic kidney failure as excess glucose in the blood makes the kidneys overwork. They need more effort to filter the toxins out of the blood and over time, the tiny blood vessels get damaged. This leads to excess water and salt retention along with leakage of protein through urine. Protein traces in urine marks the onset of kidney damage. So make sure you go for a urine test every six to eight months. Get your microalbuminuria (protein remnant) in urine with the second morning sample to understand how healthy your kidneys are. Here are five reasons for kidney damage that you should know.
3. Go to a cardiologist: Keeping your sugar level in control and meeting your diabetologist regularly might not be enough. Diabetes overtime hardens the arteries of the heart, brain, kidneys, legs, eyes, etc. However, your heart takes the maximum blow. Even if you don’t suffer from heart ailments, just being a diabetic puts you at a risk. So don’t ignore your heart and go for a cardiac wellness check up annually, starting this year if you haven’t done it till now. Here is how diabetes affects your heart.
4. Get your eyes checked: You can suffer from a gamut of related eye disorders – cataract, glaucoma and the worst being, diabetes retinopathy. Eye disorders due to diabetes can also render one blind, so be careful and don’t miss on an eye-check up, even if your sight is perfect. Here is how diabetes affects your eyes.
5. Learn more about glycemic index: When people use the word glycemic index (GI) in context to food, remember it is not a fad-diet term. Diabetics should be wary about GI. Remember, saying no to carbohydrates is not a smart way to deal with diabetes, instead knowing how to include it is a better solution. GI of foods indicates the rise of blood sugar after a carbohydrate-rich meal. Some carbohydrate rich foods have low; some have medium, and some have high GI values. Hence, the knowledge of the GI of each type of carbohydrate is very helpful in controlling the rise in blood sugar.
6. Don’t neglect your feet: If your diabetes is long standing, go to a podiatrist for a complete feet check up. They can tell you your ‘at risk’ areas where you can develop non-healing ulcers or sores. This helps you to take better care of your feet. Apart from doing the usual, like wearing tight shoes, walking bare feet, cutting the nails in a squarish front (to avoid ingrowing toenail) address corn and calluses to avoid foot infection. If your feet is at risk, getting a customised foot sole can also help in preventing complications.
7. Maintain speed and consistency while exercising: Exercising, even a simple brisk walk, can help in managing diabetes. But if you simply walk, it is of no help. The walking speed should be 6 km/hour i.e. neither a lazy stroll nor running. An early morning walk is desirable for best effects on obesity and diabetes control. However, you can choose other aerobic activities and games too. Here are five types of exercises every diabetic should do.
8. Talk to a counsellor: Don’t hesitate to do this. Fluctuations in blood glucose level lead to a change in levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and 5HT. When this happens, it makes one prone to mood swings and then to anxiety and depression in the long run. Mood can be affected every minute of the day. Uncontrolled mood swings can make one stop self-care entirely. This will make glucose levels go haywire, and affect brain function. Before you reach this stage, make sure to take help from a therapist.