Our life revolves around numbers—phone numbers, birth dates and bank account numbers. In diabetes management too, numbers are key. Call it numerology of diabetes management if you will, but if you follow these numbers, diabetes will never come in the way of living a happy, fulfilled life.
Four pillars for leading a healthy life with diabetes are: a healthy diet, regular exercise, appropriate medication and diligent monitoring.
Eat six small meals instead of three large ones as eating smaller, frequent meals reduces the burden on the pancreas. It also helps keep the metabolism up to speed. For diabetics, both fasting and feasting are best avoided.
Aim for BMI [Body Mass Index] of less than 25. BMI is a crucial factor for diabetics. Lose weight if your BMI is more than 25. For non-diabetics or the insulin resistant too, BMI of less than 25 is ideal. However, if it is more than that, even if you lose up to 5 per cent – 10 per cent of your body weight, it will cut back your risk of developing type-2 diabetes by up to 50 per cent.
Zero tobacco. For a diabetic, smoking is an invitation to all sorts of health problems. It damages blood vessels, doubles your risk for heart disease and reduces your body’s ability to use insulin by 15 per cent.
One annual check-up. Since diabetes brings along a whole array of health complications, a total health check-up helps keep important parameters such as blood pressure and cholesterol in check, avoiding problems. It’s the best way to keep a tab on the status of your diabetes. Get tests once a year [at least]:
- Fasting lipid profile
- Dilated eye exam [where the doctor places drops in the eyes] to examine the retina [the inside of the eyes].
- A urine test for protein [called the microablumin test].
- Foot examination for altered sensation and decreased circulation.
Less than 120 mg/dl of fasting or pre-meal blood sugar levels. If you manage to maintain this level, you won’t have a worry.
You must eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits every day.
Your postprandial capillary glucose levels should be less than 180 mg/dL. This is the sugar that is found in your blood two hours after the start of a meal.
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