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Coping with Diabetes: Adjusting Your Lifestyle

Making Healthy Choices and Changes Enhances Life with Diabetes

By Paul Chai

Updated September 16, 2013

Diabetes in Canada and the United States has been increasing drastically in the past few decades. Children as young as 12 years of age (and even younger) are being diagnosed daily by health care professionals, as are many adults. There has been an increase in gestational diabetes in girls and women aged 15 and above. Gestational diabetes is different from Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Common complications due to diabetes are heart disease, stroke, vision problems, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage. Other problems caused by diabetes are neuropathy, kidney disease, and eye disease in diabetics. The classic symptoms for diabetes are thirstiness, frequent urination, and increased hunger.

Causes of Diabetes

There are two main causes for diabetes such as obesity and a family history of the disease. Having a family history of diabetes makes an individual have a much higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease. It is very important that after being diagnosed, that sugar levels be taken with a blood glucose meter and should be written down in a daily journal. This can be shown when visiting a health care professional so they will know if there has been any progress made with life changes. It is also very important after being diagnosed to follow a healthy diabetes diet to support any medications being taken. Medications alone cannot control diabetes. It can go into remission, but it is not curable at this time.

More obese people living in the United States and Canada are being diagnosed with diabetes every year. There are more men demographically being diagnosed than women. Interestingly, in Canada, there are more people in Newfoundland, Labrador, and New Brunswick reported by health care professionals than in British Columbia and Yukon being diagnosed with the disease. The Canadian Diabetes Association was founded in 1953 and is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to specifically meet the needs of the many people being diagnosed with diabetes in that country today. There, many health care professionals are available to teach people that are being diagnosed how to live with and manage their diabetes. Individuals are taught the right foods to eat, the foods to avoid, how to use their medications properly, and how to check their glucose levels with a blood glucose meter.

Living With Diabetes

After being diagnosed with diabetes, you will not only have to use a blood glucose meter to keep track of your glucose levels, you will also have to eat a specially designed diet along with any medications being taken. A typical special diet includes protein that can be found in lean meats such as top cuts of beef, poultry with the skin removed, and eggs. Healthy fats are especially important to lower insulin levels and control the appetite. Some examples of these are Omega 3 fatty acids, salmon, halibut, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseed. Most important are the carbohydrates that are found in salad greens, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach. It is very important to avoid the types of carbohydrates found in pasta, milk, rice, bread, sugar, and potatoes. These foods are very high in sugars and bad carbohydrates that will increase blood sugar levels. Glucose levels need to be checked with a blood glucose meter upon rising out of bed, before meals, and after meals. It is also advised to check sugar levels when you are not feeling well to see if further actions are needed.

Diabetes and Your Lifestyle

Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are important to maintain after being diagnosed with diabetes. It becomes a huge life changing experience and can be obtained by following the instructions of a health care provider. There are many different articles that can be found online for reference after being diagnosed. One of the best places to start looking for information in Canada is at the website for the Canadian Diabetes Association. This website has many different tools and references available to help individuals learn how to live a healthier lifestyle when trying to manage their disease. There are many different links on the site for planning meals, the proper way to use a blood glucose meter, many different mouth-watering recipes, and information provided by others that are struggling with diabetes. Please be sure to seek the advice of a professional health care provider before making any kind of changes in eating habits or exercise routines after being diagnosed with diabetes. In the U.S., the American Diabetes Association offers similar resources.

Author Byline: Paul Chai is a health and wellness enthusiast writer with interests around diabetes management with One Touch blood glucose meters.

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