How to Treat Diabetes

You’ve been overweight most of your life. You’ve tried every fad diet that comes along but just can’t seem to keep the pounds off. Suddenly, however, you’re miraculously dropping pounds with no effort. But you’re not sleeping well because you’re constantly popping up for a glass of water or a trip to the bathroom. Your next trip should be to your doctor’s office, because you have several symptoms of diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes, Type I insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), and Type II non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Type I diabetes occurs when your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or stops making insulin alto­gether. If you don’t have enough insulin to keep your blood sugar under control, you will die, so daily insulin shots are necessary. Type II diabetes is less serious and far more common. It develops more slowly and can usually be controlled through diet and lifestyle changes, but sometimes medica­tion is necessary.


If your doctor confirms the diagnosis, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Approximately 16 million people in the United States have dia­betes. About half of them do not realize they have the condition.

Although many diabetics today lead happy, normal lives, it is still a serious disorder. It contributes to the deaths of almost 200,000 people a year and is the leading cause of new blindness among adults. If you think you have diabetes, the best thing you can do is get tested by your family medicine doctor. Then you can take steps to protect yourself from the potentially devastating effects of this disease.

The long-range plan for diabetes

Nine out of ten people who get diabetes will have Type II non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Fortunately, this type is easier to control and usually not as dangerous as Type I diabetes. Although heredity may play a part in who gets Type II diabetes, it is usually brought on by another fac­tor such as obesity. Therefore, you have some control over whether you get the disease and how seriously it will affect you.

  • Keep your weight down. You are most at risk for developing Type II diabetes if you are over the age of 40, have a family history of diabetes, and are overweight. You can’t help the first two, but you can control your weight. Although maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone, it may be especially important if diabetes runs in your family.
  • Eat more salmon. A little pink fish on your plate could save you from diabetes. One study found that people who ate salmon every day were 50 percent less likely to get diabetes as people who didn’t eat salmon.
  • Exercise. If you have diabetes, you can benefit from regular exercise in several ways. It helps you maintain a healthy weight and it can lower your blood sugar level. Exercise can also reduce your risk of heart disease, which is important since diabetics have a much higher risk of heart disease than most people. Always consult your doctor before you begin an exercise program.
  • Stick to your food plan. Your doctor or dietician will work with you to develop a food plan. Diabetics were once required to follow a strict diet with very little sugar. However, The American Diabetes Association issued new guidelines for diabetic eating plans in 1994. These guidelines reflected new knowledge about diabetes and nutri­tion. You can now enjoy an occasional sweet as long as you adjust the rest of your diet according­ly. But don’t let tempting goodies wreck your food plan and destroy your health.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. According to a recent study, diabetics who ate four to six small meals instead of three large ones lowered their blood sugar levels and required less insulin.
  • Get plenty of fiber. A high-fiber diet can help you regulate your blood sugar. When increasing your fiber intake, make sure you drink at least six glasses of water daily to prevent constipation.
  • Give up the cigarettes and alcohol. Smoking dam­ages your pancreas, which you need to produce insulin. Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and interact with your medicine.
  • Take some vitamin C. A humble vitamin may help prevent the damaging effects of diabetes. A recent study found that diabetics who took 500 mil­ligrams (mg) of vitamin C twice a day lowered their cholesterol levels as well as their levels of cell-damaging free radicals. Another study found that 1,000 mg of daily vitamin C strengthened blood vessels in the hands, feet, kidneys, and reti­nas of people with diabetes. Since most diabetes complications involve damaged blood vessels, vita­min C could help protect you from some serious side effects.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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