When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I did not know the difference between Type 1 Type 2 Diabetes or how to live with Type 2 diabetes. It was a scary time. My doctor and RN took the time to explain things thoroughly and made a few suggestions like trying the Mediterranean Diet, losing weight, and exercising. When I was younger I did all these things, but it had been years since I hit the gym or jogged. Consequently, I gained weight, was out of shape, and now had diabetes. I have since lost over twenty pounds, go to the gym or for a swim daily, and eat a simple low carbohydrate diet (I don’t complicate things). My efforts to live a healthy life with diabetes has been successful. My A1C is below 6.0 and I feel better than I have in years. This article imparts a few important things I learned living with diabetes. Please note that I am not a medical doctor and I do not give medical advise.
What is the Difference between Type 1 and 2 Diabetes
Although Type 1 diabetes may occur later in life, it typically happens in childhood. With type 1 diabetes the body stops producing insulin and as a result insulin by injection or via pump is necessary.
Type 2 diabetes is more common and generally occurs after the age of forty. Although there are various causes, Type 2 diabetes is frequently the result of life style. It develops as the result of high levels of fat in the liver and pancreas. The strain on the pancreas causes insulin resistance or your pancreas stops producing enough insulin.
Diabetes Monitoring Guidelines
Using a digital blood sugar monitoring kit, apply a drop of blood to the appropriate test strip.
- Normal range is 70 to 100 mg/dl
- Pre-Diabetic is 101 to 125 mg/dl
- Diabetic is over 125 mg/dl
As a Pre-Diabetic or Diabetic the goal is to keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range, as tested two hours after eating.
The A1C test provides an estimate of your average blood sugar over the past several months and is usually done as part of a regular check up routine.
- Normal range is below 6.0 percent
- Pre-Diabetic is 6.0-6.4 percent
- Diabetic is over 6.5 percent
Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plans
Before you start any diet talk to your doctor. Also there are some good plans out there. Diets can be tricky, because you have to make sure you are getting the right amount of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients. Many physicians suggest the Mediterranean Diet others have devised their own. I have tried both and ended up with a hybrid of these that enables me to enjoy meals with my family, yet control my blood sugar – of course I do most of the cooking now. Some basics about diet and diabetes:
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sodas, energy drinks, processed foods, cakes, cookies and other sugary foods.
- You may want to limit the consumption of breads, potato, rice and daily products.
- Enjoy fruits (before noon), vegetables, meats, nuts, beans (I make a mean chili), unsweetened almond milk.
For breakfast I often place a mixture of berries (Black Berries, Raspberries, and Blue Berries) in a blender with a little honey and unsweetened almond milk. During the day I may snack on boiled eggs, nuts, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, or olives. Dinner involves a combination of meat, most often chicken, with vegetables. We also enjoy home made chili. Another favorite of ours is a Polish dish called Bigos – great recipes online. More important, I keep a daily food log where I record what I eat as well as my fasting blood sugar in the morning and weight.
Diabetes Exercise Program
Which is better, aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or strength training in the gym – that is the debate. First speak with your doctor before starting any fitness program. Thereto, find an exercise regiment that you feel confident with, one that you can do on a consistent and progressive basis that you reasonably enjoy. I do strength training Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and swim at the local indoor pool Tuesdays and Thursdays. At the pool I have met other diabetics shaving off pounds. The pool is easy on the joints, refreshing in the morning, and is more than just swimming. I combine walking laps with swimming, and using a kick-board. TIME! Yes I said the “T” word. Time is something many of us do not have. Really, who has time for a work out!? I made time for exercise by getting up at 5:00 a.m., beginning my workout no later than 6:00 a.m. and making it to work by 7:30 a.m. Few want to get up that early, but as I have mentioned life with diabetes requires a life style change. I feel like I’m in the Army again, I do more before 8:00 a.m. than most do all day. The fact of the matter is that to live a healthy life with diabetes, diet and exercise is imperative – there is no magic pill or injection.
Keep an exercise log – it keeps you honest and find a workout buddy who gets you past the excuses. Also, research the literature on your workout choice. Here you will find tips and tricks that are important and help you avoid injury. Make sure you have good shoes for walking or jogging and foot care creams if you swim.
Proper Diabetic Foot Care and Diabetes Accessories
Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet. Diabetic Neuropathy may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Also, reduced blood flow to the feet may make it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. As a diabetic, injuries to the feet, such as cuts or blisters, can easily become infected or not heal putting you at risk for an amputation. Avoiding trimming toe-nails too close, wear house shoes, remove pebbles and other discomforts from shoes, and keep you feet clean and conditioned. Diabetic accessories include diabetic socks, shoes, skin creams among many other items.
How to Live with Type 2 Diabetes
Living with diabetes is about taking care of yourself – it is a new life style. As I like to say, my life style and diet got me into this mess, and it is my life style and diet that will get me out of it.