Be aware of the condition.
Should I be concerned?
Can it affect me?
Can I do anything to help avoid it?
The answer to these questions is YES; the possible solution is in the article.
Advice for Diabetics.
This is a helpful guide for anyone who has diabetes, or thinks they may have diabetes.
There are numerous causes of diabetes these may be hereditary, hormonal or environmental. It is caused by the body not producing sufficient insulin to control blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes classified as type one and type two.
Is insulin dependent which is commonly found in children and young adults but can occur at any age. It can also frequently affect the very elderly, or people who are over–weight. People who are insulin dependent diabetics produce very little, or no insulin and the condition is life threatening unless they are given insulin. It is very important to keep the blood sugar at the correct levels.
Is non–insulin dependent and the most common type which occurs mainly in middle aged people, but can frequently affect the elderly and some times young adults. People with non-insulin dependent diabetes produce insulin, but not in sufficient quantity and do not require to be given insulin in order to survive normally. It is controlled by diet and or tablets. It is also very important to keep the blood sugar at the correct level.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Tiredness, excessive thirst, blurred vision, passing large amounts of urine, urine infections, poor healing qualities, particularly around the lower leg and feet, weight loss, with loss of muscle strength and dry skin which gives the appearance of parchment. These are easily recognized, but there are many more. Some of these symptoms can be attributed to other illnesses. If you are unsure, then you should consult your doctor. The test for diabetes is straight forward and should be carried by your doctor.
Advice for Diabetics.
What happens if the pancreas fails to produce insulin?
If the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin for the body to convert sugar to energy, this will allow the levels of sugar in the blood to become out of control. When failure in the pancreas occurs, it results in the medical condition called DIABETES. A rise in the sugar level can easily be detected by testing a urine sample. This test should be carried out by a doctor. If the level of sugar in the urine sample is high, this is a good indication that diabetes may be present and further tests will be required.
How is the blood sugar controlled under normal circumstances?
The blood sugar is controlled by the pancreas which produces a hormone called insulin, which is needed to enable the body to convert sugar to energy and or store it in the body for any emergency such as an illness or an accident. A normal healthy pancreas is able to detect the changes in the body and automatically make any adjustments to the insulin level as required.
What is the blood sugar level?
This is the amount of sugar which should be present in the blood under normal circumstances. Diabetics should check their blood sugar levels on a regular basis as instructed by the doctor. The result of a blood sugar test will help decide what action, if any, has to be taken in order to keep the blood sugar at the correct level. If you have difficulties in maintaining the correct levels of blood sugar, you should consult your doctor.
Where does the sugar come from in the body?
The sugar in the body comes from the food we eat, i.e. cakes, sweets, potatoes, bread cereals and drinks, sugar in tea, alcohol (beer has a lot of sugar in it) and many more. It is important to control the food we eat. The sugar is absorbed into the blood stream and circulated to the parts of the body that require it for energy. The surplus is then stored in the body in the form of starch or fat for a later date to be used by the body.
Advice for Diabetics
Eating and Drinking
- Try to eat meals three times a day at regular intervals.
- Eat plenty of fibre vegetables and fruit are good choices, (some fruit is high in sugar content). Avoid food high in sugar and fat.
- Alcohol is very high in sugar and should be avoided as much as possible.
- Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. If you drink, it should be taken with food.
- Water and sugar free drinks are good choices.
- There are many other options which can be considered. Your doctor and or a dietitian should be able to help you.
- Smoking is not good for you and should be stopped as soon as possible. Both smoking and diabetes have a detrimental effect on your circulation.
Two things which may help
If you are over–weight try and lose some weight. This is not easy and even harder as you get older as your metabolism slows down. Lose a little weight at a time. Don’t set too big a goal. A little weight loss over a long period is more likely to be maintained. Eat smaller portions. Walking is one of the best ways to exercise. It is not necessary to do a route march. Walk two or three times a day and gradually try to increase the distance you walk each week. You must set your own goals. Exercise helps burn up the sugar in your body and assists in controlling the blood sugar levels. It also helps with the blood circulation, particularly in the legs and feet.
Lower Leg and Feet
Diabetes affects the nervous and circulatory (blood flow) systems in the body, causing a gradual deterioration. There is deterioration in the healing process in the diabetic foot. It is important to be careful and to seek professional help if you cut or damage your foot (e.g. burn or scald). Due to the poor healing process in the lower leg and feet areas, cuts or injuries, if not treated correctly, can turn into ulcers. It is important to take care of your feet. If in doubt seek medical advice.
The two items below address problems when diabetes is in the advanced stages, though many people never reach these stages.
Loss of feeling in the lower leg and foot areas can occur due to diabetes. It is important to check your feet regularly to ensure you have not stepped on any sharp objects of which you are unaware and it may be necessary for someone else to check your feet for you. In severe cases, gangrene can occur in the lower leg, feet and toe areas which could require amputation. This is normally in patients who neglect themselves.
Advice for Diabetics
Walking around barefoot is not recommended as this increases the risk of stepping on sharp objects which can cause infections.
Toe nails should be cut straight across under normal circumstances and not too short.
Wash your feet daily, ensuring that you dry them correctly. Also cream your feet, to keep the skin smooth and soft.
Check your feet daily for infections, redness, swellings or cuts and contact your doctor or chiropodist if you are in any doubt.
Wear sensible shoes and sandals, ensuring they protect your toes. Ensure they fit correctly and do not rub your feet.
Diabetes can affect your eye-sight so it is important to have your eyes tested every twelve to eighteen months.
This is a brief explanation on diabetes, which is a very in-depth and complex disease but which is on the increase.
Diabetics should visit a chiropodist on a regular basis for assessments and routine foot care. If you are a registered diabetic you should visit a diabetic clinic approximately every three months or as advised by a doctor or specialist consultant.
Should you be in any doubt about the symptoms or condition you should consult your Chiropodist or Doctor at any time.
If you have any queries regarding this article or you would like a consultation, please call Phillip Dawe. M.Inst.Ch.P. & H.P.C. Tel 968 150 244 or Mob 659 468 092