Diabetes: Life Style Changes

The diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus means you will need to make many lifestyle changes to prevent or at least slow down complications

related to the disease. These diabetic complications may be acute or chronic but both have very serious consequences.

Acute complications of diabetes are sudden and severe and can lead to coma or death if not treated immediately. The major acute complications are: Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) which occurs when there is not enough stored energy due to lack of insulin;

Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Non-Ketotic Syndrome (HHNS) which is usually associated with insulin deficiency and dehydration and leads to a rapid increase in blood glucose; finally Hypoglycemia which is very low blood sugar. This is often due to medication errors or inability to eat during times of illness.

The major chronic complications of diabetes involve changes in blood vessels, tissues and organs. These complications include coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetic retinopathy which leads to blindness. One of the biggest problems diabetics face is kidney failure due to changes within the kidneys. Diabetes can also experience Diabetic Neuropathy. This is a loss of nerve function that either results in constant pain or loss of feeling. Erectile Dysfunction is also a chronic condition associated with diabetes. Causes are a combination of vascular and neurological damage.

Having said all that now you know why you need to make lifestyle changes, now what do you need to do? The first thing you will need to do is change your diet. This doesn’t mean you have to start eating things you don’t like, it just means you have to watch how much you eat and avoid certain foods that are high in simple sugars. Your doctor or diabetic educator will give you information on how to

count your fats and carbohydrates. You should learn to read the labels and pick foods you like that are not bad for you.

You should also learn how your body reacts to food and exercise. Your doctor should have you check your blood sugar before and after meals for a while so you can see how it changes and start to make associations between how much you eat and how much your blood

sugar goes up. You should also check your blood sugar before and after exercise so you can avoid becoming hypoglycemic.

One more thing you should do is educate the people around you; your co-workers, your family, your friends. They should all be aware that you are diabetic and know the symptoms & treatments of hypo and hyperglycemia so that they can get you immediate treatment if needed. Every diabetic should be under the care of a doctor.

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