Firming up the new year resolution: I will manage my diabetes in 2013

Good nutrition and an active lifestyle are fundamentals to good health and a healthy living. However, in today’s increasingly rapid pace of life, it becomes very difficult to stick to an ideal routine diet. On the contrary, chances are very high that majority of the population binge on junk food which is an unhealthy supplement. It is only good to attract your taste buds. Youngsters, especially, fall in this category and health issues such as obesity, heart ailments, blood pressure and diabetes have become synonymous with their generation.

A research conducted by AC Nielsen in 2010 reveals that 64 % of men in the age group of 40-50 in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Kolkata cannot stay away from unhealthy food. This is a major cause of heart disease and diabetes. Adding to this, a busy and highly stressed life-style is forcibly driving people towards a diet of convenience which is devoid of vitamins and minerals, overloaded with fat, sugar and high calories.

Therefore, ‘easy to make but tough to follow’ is the right phrase when it comes to making any new year resolutions. The same applies to diabetics who make ‘resolutions’ and follow them diligently for a few days or months. But then they easily give up due to miscellaneous reasons.

Since we are nearing the year-end and as we turn the calendar from 2012 to 2013, let’s take a quick glance over the ‘Top 5 Resolution Mantras’ by Dr. N.G. Sastry, Diabetologist, Director at Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Centre, Hyderabad. This will help diabetic patients to ensure that their diabetes resolutions are successful for the coming year, no matter what time of year you follow them:

Food

Keep a strict watch on your diet plan and ensure you take smaller meals in short duration. Use low fat dairy products, substitute sugar with natural sugars like honey or jiggery, opt for healthier drinks such as unsweetened fresh fruit juice, buttermilk, etc. Also, include special foods like bitter gourd (karela), fenugreek (methi), garlic, onion, flaxseeds (alsi) and soyabean which mainly helps control diabetes. Intake lots of liquids and sugar-free energy drinks.

Medication and therapy

Ensure that you take your medicines on time with proper prescriptions and dosage. A regular visit to your Endocrinologist can also help you in several ways. Whether you are prone to hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) conditions, regular monitoring of blood glucose level is the key to maintaining good health and quality of life. Though standard blood sugar tests are known to be very crucial to evaluate the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients, physicians globally are highly recommending the use of diagnostic tools such as the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) which gives a more accurate picture of blood sugar fluctuations experienced by diabetics. The modern-day Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) devices help patients in effective management of their disease in a professional manner. Since this helps in an optimal control over the disease, the patient feels more confident, energetic and relaxed as the real-time data can help him/her (and also the patient’s doctor) decide and adjust the insulin levels.

Additionally if you’re a insulin dependent diabetic you can now get rid of the pain from daily insulin injection pricks. One can ask his doctor to know more about the latest Insulin pump therapies like Paradigm VEO, which mimics the functions of pancreas by delivering insulin effectively and continuously round the clock with minimal variability. With such pumps, patients can monitor their glucose levels continuously and can avoid hypoglycaemic episodes with proper management of diabetes. This therapy gives more flexibility to lead a normal life and helps to achieve better control thereby reducing the risk of long term complications. Using an insulin pump, you can match your insulin to your lifestyle rather than adjust your lifestyle to your body’s response to insulin injections.

Physical activity

Start baby steps towards regular exercising and maintaining physical fitness. Your body has all sorts of built-in alarm systems. Regular exercises have been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look fit and feel better and energetic. Properly timed eating and exercise will allow you to burn the blood sugar before it has a chance to turn to fat. Additionally, it will also burn your stored fats thus causing weight loss. Physical activity will help you use the insulin you produce to convert the food you eat into energy. This will help keep your blood glucose lower. It is always advisable to follow a meal with a brisk walk which ensures proper digestion of your food.

A ‘can do’ attitude

Ensure by triple-checking before firming up your goals, as they should be something which you can realistically achieve. Set realistic goals matching your desire to do something followed by the undying commitment which will finally yield the golden fruits. Induce positive thinking about diabetes. Although this disease is challenging but it is certainly not a disability. One can learn to live a healthy and normal life by adapting to the right monitoring and treatment options such as CGMS & insulin pump therapy. Therefore, with technological advancements, improving lifestyle and positive mindset; diabetics can adopt a safety road to better health.

Keep yourself happy

And finally, diabetes management is a real big task and not all succeed in adhering to it, so why not add a little drama into the routine? This calls for the celebration time where you bring in the ‘self reward system’ which allows you to reward yourself with anything you are looking for i.e. shopping, a day off, picnic or a trip to the spa. This will not only keep you happy or make you feel proud about your achievements but will also boost your morale to perform even better the next time.

Family members should not only encourage the diabetic member by only preparing the healthy diet but also try to eat the same meal along with them. This would benefit the diabetic member as he will not feel left out and will be positively driven towards taking up the diet regime for healthy living.

New year’s eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

If a healthier 2013 is what you aim for, then keep that desire strong throughout the year and work towards achieving your goal for a healthy tomorrow.

Source: Dr. N.G. Sastry, Diabetologist, Director at Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Centre, Hyderabad
Image: Thinkstockphotos.com

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