Imagine our bodies to be a sugar bowl. A bowl of sugar. When we are young, our sugar bowl is empty. Over decades, we eat too much of the wrong things – sugary cereals, desserts and white bread. The sugar bowl gradually fills up with sugar until completely full. The next time you eat, sugar comes into the body, but the bowl is full, so it spills out into the blood.
The same benefits are seen when looking specifically at people with impaired prediabetes (glucose tolerance/impaired fasting glucose). When diet and exercise are used as tools in this population over a six year study and compared to a control group, glucose tolerance improves by about 76% compared to deterioration in 67% of the control group. The exercise group also had a lesser rate of progression to type 2 diabetes.
The majority of our dialysis patients lose kidney function completely – in other words they no longer urinate. So imagine what happens when they eat salty foods (not salt) – they get thirsty and drink – Then the dialysis treatment must try (only try) to remove the fluid they accumulate. It is true that high blood sugar also causes thirst – which I must keep in mind. I have many patients who rely on their PCP for advice with their insulin. They take the same amount of insulin regardless of their blood sugar – and the A1C remains elevated – I can’t change how they administer the insulin – but only recommend asking for a referral to an endocrinologist.
Most people with diabetes find that it is quite helpful to sit down with a dietitian or nutritionist for a consult about what is the best diet for them and how many daily calories they need. It is quite important for diabetics to understand the principles of carbohydrate counting and how to help control blood sugar levels through proper diet. Below are some general principles about the diabetic diet.
According to the study conducted by Bani25 in Saudi Arabia, majority of the patients 97.3% males and 93.1% females were unaware about the importance of monitoring diabetes, with no significant gender difference. Diabetes knowledge, attitude, and practice were also studied in Qatari type 2 diabetics. The patients’ knowledge regarding diabetes was very poor, and their knowledge regarding the effect of diabetes on feet was also not appreciable.26 Results from a study conducted in Najran, Saudi Arabia27 reported that almost half of the patients did not have adequate knowledge regarding diabetes disease. Males in this study had more knowledge regarding diabetes than female patients. Diabetes knowledge among self-reported diabetic female teachers was studied in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.28 The study concluded that diabetes knowledge among diabetic female teachers was very poor. It was further suggested that awareness and education about diabetes should be urgently given to sample patients. The knowledge of diabetes provides the information about eating attitude, workout, weight monitoring, blood glucose levels, and use of medication, eye care, foot care, and control of diabetes complications.29
You don't have to live your life at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. A brisk half-hour walk five days per week can be enough to help improve insulin sensitivity (the opposite of insulin resistance) and prevent diabetes. Also, just being generally more active can help a lot. To motivate yourself, get a pedometer to count your steps, and gradually increase the number of steps you are taking.
Don’t be surprised if you have to use multiple medications to control the blood sugar. Multiple medications, also known as combination therapy is common in the treatment of diabetes! If one medication is not enough, you medical provider may give you two or three or more different types of pills. Insulin or other injected medications also may be prescribed. Or, depending on your medical condition, you may be treated only with insulin or injected medication therapy.