Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Control Your Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes is a killer disease. It can lead to kidney failure, heart disease, neuropathy, blindness, and much more. If you have diabetes, you must take control of it immediately. Type 1 diabetes is the hardest type to control. It is also called juvenile diabetes, as it is common to get type 1 diabetes when you are a child. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, which is needed to take sugar (glucose) from the blood to the cells. This results in very high blood sugar counts and this is the major cause of many of the serious complications that may develop.

A person with Type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin shots to lower the blood sugar. Diabetics need to have an insulin called a background insulin, which works throughout the day. Then they need to take extra insulin after eating a meal. An insulin pump gives the constant background insulin. It also allows the diabetic to easily give themselves extra insulin when they eat and cuts down on the need for insulin shots from a needle. However, diabetics must test their blood sugar levels four or five times a day and make whatever adjustments need to be made. The normal testing times are before breakfast, lunch, dinner and bed. The amount of insulin to take with each meal will be determined by a combination of these readings plus the food eaten. Sugar highs and lows wear down the body. The key is to try to control these up and down readings the best you can. The insulin pump helps tremendously but diet is very important.

Follow the glycemic index when eating. This index rates foods according to the way these foods react to your blood sugar. If the carbohydrates the food contains break down quickly, they tend to make your blood sugar levels jump quickly. These foods have a high GI (glycemic index) ranking. For example, a potato has a high GI ranking. The carbohydrates break down very quickly and cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. Beans have a low GI index, so the blood sugar effects are spread out over a longer period of time. You do not get the rapid sugar rise.

Diabetics, in particular, need to learn to balance these foods to avoid those highs and lows. If you are having potatoes, for example, try eating a sweet potato instead or combine some low GI ranked foods with the potatoes to balance this sugar rise. It's well worth it for diabetics to learn as much as they can about this glycemic index. The best diet for a diabetic to follow will be eating more of the foods with a low to medium glycemic index. Other things the diabetic can do is snack on air popped popcorn rather than pretzels. Salt should be limited in the diet as the diabetic is at a greater risk for high blood pressure. Eat broiled or grilled chicken rather than fried chicken. This also helps control blood pressure and cholesterol. If you want to drink wine, drink it with a meal. There is less of an impact on blood sugar. However, do not over indulge. It can and will interfere with your medications.

Diabetes is a very dangerous disease and any diabetic definitely should be visiting a doctor on a regular basis. He or she will help manage your diabetes and will most likely advise a visit with a nutritionist. Diabetes cannot be completely controlled but, with a change in diet and lifestyle, diabetics can help manage it and live a long life.

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