Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. This can happen for two reasons; either the body is unable to produce insulin- the hormone which regulates blood sugar levels, or the insulin produced isn’t working properly. There are two main types of the condition; type 1 diabetes, and type 2. They are different conditions, caused by different things. Type 2 diabetes is more common, with 90% of people with diabetes having type 2.
Type 1 diabetes:
Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the healthy cells, in this case, the pancreas, preventing it from producing the insulin needed to regulate blood sugar levels. Type 1 commonly develops in people under the age of 40 and will typically require regular insulin injections to regulate sugar levels and manage the condition.
Type 2 diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the cells in the body aren’t reacting to the insulin as they should. The most common form of diabetes, it is often associated with obesity. Previously, type 2 diabetes was typically diagnosed in older people, yet it is becoming more common in younger people, too.
Complications and risks of diabetes:
Diabetes can lead to serious, long-term health problems if left untreated. Complications of diabetes include kidney problems and lower limb amputation, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, such as stroke. Diabetes is the most common cause of vision loss in people aged 16 to 64.
Prediabetes, also known as borderline diabetes, is a metabolic condition, closely linked to obesity. Characterized by blood glucose levels being higher than normal, but not high enough to be classed as diabetes, it is a condition that while irreversible, can be managed.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects pregnant women, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. More common in women with a body mass index (BMI) above 30, however, signs of gestational diabetes tend to disappear after giving birth.
The key thing in managing diabetes through diet, is eating regularly and including plenty of starchy carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables. A well-balanced diet will help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being. While diabetes is a long-term condition, it doesn’t mean you must avoid sugar for the rest of your life. Sugary and high-fat foods do, of course spike your levels, so refined sugar has to be omitted and one must switch over to natural sugars and sweeteners like honey, jaggery and fruits, but not completely avoided.
The thing to remember is, diets are personal. What makes a balanced diet for you, may be very different for someone else. For someone with diabetes, what the body needs will differ even more.There is much confusion on what makes a ‘healthy balanced diet’ and with diabetes, it can be even more misunderstood. Diagnosis can be very overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. We can support you throughout your journey by understanding and reaching out by making healthier choices through diet and lifestyle.
Living with diabetes: Diabetes is mostly irreversible but you can control it and it’s important you take care of your health to help manage symptoms and avoid further complications.Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed and don’t know where to start, or have been living with diabetes for a while yet want more support. I ensure you with a balanced diet which is important in managing your condition. The foods you eat will directly affect your glucose levels, and lower any symptoms.
Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your%u202Fblood glucose level, also called blood sugar, in your target range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if any. I tend to plan a lifestyle change for my clients who are suffering from diabetes by focusing on some simple points such as- Regular exercise, limiting alcohol and smoking, monitoring blood sugar levels, which acts as a key in managing symptoms and increasing quality of life.
Physical exercise: Regular physical activity is recommended for those with diabetes as it has been found to lower blood glucose levels. Aim for 150 minutes (30 minutes, five times a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as cycling, functional training etc each week.
Monitoring blood sugar levels:
Living with diabetes will mean regular management and monitoring of your blood sugar levels. Typically, you can check your levels at home, with a skin prick test, though it is important you make regular check-ups with your doctor for in-depth blood tests. It is also important to check your feet, nerves and eyes regularly, as these can be affected by all types of diabetes.
Alcohol and smoking:
Smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and other serious smoking-related conditions. As with diabetes, this risk is already high, it is advised you reduce smoking, or stop completely. Your GP can support you if you want to quit.
Alcohol can spike your blood levels, or cause them to drop, depending on how much you consume. Cocktails and fizzy mixers are high sugar, so if you are going to drink, be aware of what’s available and try choose a low sugar option. Bear in mind, it's advised you don’t drink on an empty stomach, and be careful you stay within the recommended limits (no more than 14 units a week).
During initial consultation, you may be asked to complete a food diary, recording what and when you eat, how you feel before and after, and general lifestyle habits. This will give us an idea of your current diet and lifestyle, and indicate any changes that need to be made. While it may be daunting, it’s important you are honest with us so that I can be able to help you fully.
As well as offering general support and nutrition advice, I will be able to put together a specific diet plan, tailored to your symptoms and lifestyle. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, helping you navigate any dietary changes you need to make.
We have weekly followup system.