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How to Prevent Long-Term Problems

Improper management of diabetes can lead to long-term health problems.

Heart and blood vessel problems 

Over time, fat can build up on the walls of your blood vessels. It’s hard for blood to flow through the clogged vessels. When blood can’t get to the heart, it can cause a heart attack. When blood can’t get to the brain, it can cause a stroke. There are other things that increase your risk of heart disease and strokes such as:

  • Too much weight around your waist (waist size 40 inches or more in men and 35 inches or more in women)
  • Abnormal blood fat and cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking

To prevent those problems:

  • Manage your blood sugar levels
  • Follow your meal and physical activity plans
  • If you smoke, try very hard to stop, or seek help from your diabetes care team. You can also visit http://www.smokefree.com for help in quitting
  • Limit salt and alcohol intake
  • Know your cholesterol and blood fat (triglyceride) levels and manage them
  • Check your blood pressure and manage it

Cholesterol and Blood Fats 

A blood test will tell you how much of various kinds of fats and cholesterol you have in your blood. Try to reach the goals that you and your diabetes care team have set. Meeting your goals will help protect your heart and blood vessels from damage.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the insides of your blood vessels as it moves through your body. You should have your blood pressure checked at every visit and ask what it is. Your diabetes care team will give you two numbers. For example, if your blood pressure is 130/88 mm Hg, your team will say that your pressure is “one thirty over eighty.”

The first number is your systolic blood pressure. That’s the pressure as your heart beats to pump blood. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure. That’s the pressure when the heart rests between beats.

High blood pressure (also called hypertension) means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can:

  • Strain the heart
  • Damage blood vessels
  • Increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney problems

Ask your diabetes care team about your blood pressure goal. The goal for most people with diabetes is less than 130/80 mm Hg. If you are not at your blood pressure and blood fat and cholesterol goals, you and your diabetes care team can talk about what steps you can take to reach them.

Eyes: 

High blood sugar can damage the tiny vessels that supply blood to your eyes. This can cause a number of eye problems. Over time, these problems can lead to blindness. There are some ways to protect your eyes:

  • Manage your blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Get a dilated eye exam by an eye care specialist every year
  • Call your diabetes care team right away if you notice any sudden change in your sight, such as blurry vision or little specks floating before your eyes

Kidneys:

Your kidneys filter waste products out of your blood. Over time, hyperglycemia damages the small blood vessels of the kidneys. It also forces the kidneys to filter too much blood. The extra work is hard on the kidneys. After many years, they can fail. Taking good care of yourself can help to prevent this damage. Taking good care of yourself can help to prevent this damage. Here’s what you can do:

  • Have a urine test for protein every year. This test is called a microalbumin test. It can help find kidney damage in its early stages before it gets worse.
  • Have a blood test for serum creatinine at least once a year. This test can also show kidney damage in its early stages.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.
  • Manage your blood pressure. HIgh blood pressure makes the kidneys work extra hard.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking adds more damage to the small blood vessels.

Nerves:

High blood sugar can damage nerves in the body. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the toes, feet, legs, hands, arms, and fingers
  • Nausea, vomiting, or indigestion
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Problems with urination
  • Weakness

Here’s what you can do to help reduce your risk of nerve damage:

  • Manage your blood sugar levels
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink

Teeth and Gums: 

Diabetes can increase the amount of sugar in your saliva. Over time, this can cause tooth decay and gum infections. Here’s how to keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Manage your blood sugar. See your dentist at least every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
  • Call your dentist if you have red, bleeding, or tender gums for more than a few days. These problems may be an early sign of gum disease.
  • Floss your teeth after every meal. Then brush your teeth for 3 minutes.

Skin:

Diabetes can harm your skin in many ways. High blood sugar causes your body to lose fluid. That can make your skin dry. Dry skin can crack easily. Germs can get in and cause infections. High blood sugar feeds the germs, which can make infections worse. Hyperglycemia causes you to sweat less. Decreased sweating can cause dry skin. Here’s what you can do to take care of your skin:

  • Bathe or shower each day using a mild soap. Rinse very well and pat yourself dry.
  • After washing, use a lotion or cream to keep your skin moist.
  • Check your skin after washing. Look for dry, red, or sore spots that might lead to an infection.
  • Tell your diabetes care team about any skin problems.

Feet: 

Diabetes can hurt your feet in two ways:

  • High blood sugar damages your nerves, including those in your feet. With damaged nerves, you might not feel pain, heat, or cold. A sore or cut may get worse and become infected without your feeling it.
  • Diabetes reduces blood flow to your feet. When your feet don’t get enough blood, infections may not heal.

Protect your feet by taking extra care of them:

  • Have a comprehensive foot exam every year
  • Wash your feet in warm water every day and dry them well
  • Never go barefoot
  • Wear shoes and socks that fit well
  • Inspect your feet every day for cuts, bruises, blisters, or swelling
  • Ask your diabetes care team how you should care for your toenails
  • Call your diabetes care team if you injure your feet in any way
  • Make sure your diabetes care team checks your feet at every visit

Sex: 

Some people with diabete experience sexual problems. It is difficult to talk about sex, but your diabetes care team can help you. You may want to ask for a few minutes to talk about it at the beginning or end of your next appointment. Setting the time aside will ensure that it gets the attention it deserves. And there is no need to feel embarrassed. You can be sure that your diabetes care team has dealt with the issue before. Keeping your nerves and blood vessels healthy can help to reduce sexual problems. You can help keep your nerves and blood vessels healthy by managing your ABCs—that is, your:

  • A1C
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels

 

Diabetes problems don’t have to happen. You can work to avoid them. There are many things you can do to reduce your risk. But the most important is to manage your blood sugar. That’s the best way to live an active, full life with diabetes. You can do it! There’s no can’t, CAN!

Recipe Suggestions

I think people should make diabetic recipes of:

  • sugar-free: kit-kats, m&ms, tootsie pops, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, macaroons, chocolate covered croissants, chocolate coins, sugary cereal and other pastries and sweets that are still sugary
  • sugar-free juice
  • low-carb French fries, pancakes, waffles, French toast sticks, pizza rolls, and bagel bites

Diabetes Diet Part 6: Breakfast and snacks

Look up recipes for each of those items except the last one.

  1. Knife and fork burrito
  2. Grapes and grahams
  3. Fruits and nut yogurt
  4. Cereal nut mix
  5. Pear and cheese
  6. Tuna salad crisps
  7. Tomato-Avocado Open-Face Sandwich
  8. Bananas and chocolate
  9. Guacamole and veggies
  10. Mini pizza
  11. Ham and Pineapple
  12. Rye Crisps with cucumber topping
  13. Strawberries and fruit dip
  14. Apple

Diabetes Diet Part 5: Foods you should avoid

  1. Sugary foods: sweets, desserts, and soda (not diet) lack nutritional value and cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Instead, eat some delicious fruits such as berries, pears, apples, and oranges. They’ll give you plenty of fibers that will slow down the absorption of glucose. However, fruit also has sugar. Eat it in moderation.
  2. Fruit juices: they have sugar. Avoid drinking them even if they are labeled 100 percent fruit juice. Some fruit juices have vitamins and minerals to make them seem like a healthy choice. However, they could cause high glucose levels. Drink them only when you have hypoglycemia.
  3. Dried fruits: contain many nutrients and fiber, the dehydrated process used in their production can cause the natural sugars in the fruits to get super-concentrated. So, while snacking on dried apricots or raisins is better than cookie, don’t forget that it may  spike up your levels. They also have sugar.
  4. White Bread, Rice, and Flour: causes of high glucose levels
  5. Full-Fat Dairy products: they raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of cardiac complications. These saturated fats can worsen the resistance of the body cells to insulin meaning the insulin produced in the pancreas or taken as an injection will be less effective in controlling your levels. Look for fat-free or low-fat products instead.
  6. Baked Goods and Packaged Snacks: pretzels, crackers, chips, doughnuts, cookies, and snack cakes have high amount of trans fats. Look for labels that list 0 grams of trans-fat.
  7. Fried Foods: French fries, potato chips, fried chicken, fried dough, etc. soak up tons of oil and are loaded with calories. Most of them are coated in breading first, thereby jacking up the calorie count even more. Overdoing on these greasy stuffs can cause blood-sugar chaos. Most of those foods are deep-fried in hydrogenated oils, which are laden with dangerous trans-fats. OR You can just take the skin off of fried chicken and eat the chicken parts.
  8. Alcohol: it can interfere with your levels and the action of your anti-diabetic drugs resulting in serious side effects. Consult your doctor to make sure whether it’s safe for you to drink alcohol and how much. I recommend one or two light beers or a one or two glasses of red or white wine
  9. Nachos: High in carbs and fats.
  10. Biscuits and Sausage Gravy: high in fats, calories, and sodium and mess up your levels
  11. Battered Fish Dinners: avoid stuff like that such as hush puppies, fries, and coleslaw. Instead, choose healthy cooking methods like roasting or baking and avoid those high-calorie sides.

Diabetes Diet Part 4: Herbs

  1. Onion: contains minieral chromium which produces powerful modifications in the way the carbs are metabolized in the body to ensure the blood glucose levels remain within normal limits.
  2. Indian Kino: used in certain parts of Asia as a natural treatment for diabetes. Stimulate the regeneration of pancreatic cells thereby boosting the production of insulin. Recommended for type 1 dibates patients in whom the pancreas is not able to secrete the required amount of insulin. A very good anti-diabetes herb for those who wish to rebuild their damaged pancreas to keep their blood sugar levels within normal limits. Take this herb several times a day over a period of 2-3 months to observe significant changes in blood sugar reports.
  3. Ginseng: a direct blood-sugar lowering effect and can be used to prevent sudden spikes after a heavy meal. Demonstrated to possess the ability to stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreatic cells and increase the number of insulin receptors.
  4. Bilberry: treatment of eye problems. Prevents the damage to the arteries supplying blood to the retinal nerve thereby preventing blindness and other eye-related complications. Also improves the sensory and motor functions of nerves in hands and legs, which are usually hampered due to diabetic neuropathy.
  5. Blueberry Leaves: possess powerful hypoglycemic properties that are beneficial to diabetics. Recommended to boil 8-10 leaves of Blueberry in 1 glass of water for about 10 minutes. Diabetics can strain this liquid and drink it. Doing this 2 times a day, for 3 months, can show a marked reduction in blood glucose levels.
  6. Collards: contains calcium, fiber, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Also a good source of niacin. Helps reduce the levels and minimizes the threat of getting diabetes complications. Low glycemic index. No sugar spikes.
  7. Cinnamon: Causes a significant drop in fasting blood sugar. Also reduces triglycerides and cholesterol levels thereby preventing atherosclerosis, a condition which goes hand in hand with diabetes to cause dangerous consequences. Rich in chromium, a mineral which enhances the action of insulin. Also loaded with antioxidants that protect you from free radicals and lower bodily inflammations.
  8. Curry Leaves: a prevention herb. Lowers fasting and postprandial blood sugar by regulating the amount of sugar absorbed from the intestine. Can be used in day-to-day cooking for tempering and garnishing. Adds a great aroma and flavor to the food. Can even chew 5-6 raw curry leaves, twice a day, to keep your sugar levels in control.
  9. Dandelion: Roots stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. Possesses a chemical called inulin (not to be confused with Insulin), which helps the body control the blood sugar levels. Dandelion roots are also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, which make it a desirable nutritious food for people with diabetes.
  10. Garlic: wonderful hypoglycemic properties that help lower blood sugar level. Eating just 2-4 raw cloves of garlic every day, first thing in the morning, can help in addressing neurological and blood related complications of diabetes. If you find the strong taste of garlic too harsh to chew, then you can just swallow the cloves with a glass of water. Can also be used for seasoning or tempering in regular cooking.
  11. Ginkgo Biloba: one of the oldest known anti-diabetic herbs. Powerful antioxidants in this herb help protect the body cells against free radicals. Ginkgo Biloba also increases the blood flow in the arteries and thus boosts the oxygen levels in various organs. Helps prevent the complications caused by lack of blood supply in the body.
  12. Mango Leaves: contain a component called Gallic Acid, which protects the beta cells in the pancreas whose function is to secret insulin. This enables the pancreas to produce more amounts of insulin so that an optimum control of blood sugar can be achieved.