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|Diabetes Self-management Program|
A diet that is high in complex-carbohydrates, low in fat, high in fiber, and includes plenty of raw fruits and vegetables helps reduce the need for insulin and also lowers the level of fats in the blood. Since candy and junk food are out of the picture, a good snack food would be oat or rice bran crackers with nut butter or cheese.
Foods that help normalize blood sugar levels include spirulina, berries, brewer's yeast, dairy products, egg yolks, fish, garlic, kelp, sauerkraut, soybeans, and vegetables.
Avoid simple sugars and refined carbohydrates, in one chemical step the body can turn white refined flour into sugar
Eat more complex carbohydrates or reduce your insulin dosage before exercise.
Fiber slows intestinal absorption of sugar and so smooths out blood sugar levels.
Eat beans and barley, they are both packed with fiber, and most experts recommend that people with diabetes double their fiber intakes to 30 grams per day.
Mary Dan Eades, M.D., and medical director of the Arkansas Center for Health and Weight Control recommends up to 50 grams a day, also including the use of psyllium.
In one study, people with diabetes who ate 6.8 grams (about two rounded tablespoons) of psyllium fiber before both breakfast and dinner had 14 to 20 percent drops in postmeal blood sugar.
Research suggests that some people with Type II diabetes can improve glucose control by switching from a diet of saturated fats (hard at room temperature) and polyunsaturated fats (corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils) to a diet of monounsaturated fats (the kind found in olive oil and canola oil).
Exercise is important in the treatment of diabetes. Many benefits are associated with keeping physically fit. These benefits include enhanced insulin sensitivity with a consequent diminished need for exogenous insulin, improved glucose tolerance, reduced total serum cholesterol and triglycerides with increased HDL levels that result in a more anti-atherogenic state, and improved weight loss in obese diabetics. However, there is some risk in a fitness program. Exercise should be avoided during periods of hypoglycemia.
Avoid tobacco in any form; it constricts the blood vessels and inhibits circulation. Keep your feet clean, dry, and warm, and wear only white cotton socks and well-fitting shoes. Lack of oxygen (because of poor circulation) and peripheral nerve damage (with loss of pain sensation) are major factors in the development of diabetic foot ulcers.
Get into the habit of checking food labels. People with Type II diabetes are less able than most people to perceive sweet tastes, and this may make it more difficult for them to lose weight. Because they don't recognize the sweet taste of substances, they often consume sugary products that they do not appreciate as sweet. If a diabetic attains a better understanding of food, exercises greater care in choosing foods, and reads food product labels carefully, he or she should be able to control the problem and avoid the need for treatment with drugs or insulin.
Research indicates that supplementation with the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may help prevent diabetes.
A woman with diabetes who wants to become pregnant should watch her blood sugar levels long before she plans to conceive. The fetus has the greatest chance of developing birth defects during the first five to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women know they are pregnant. It usually takes a few months to get the blood sugar under proper control; if a woman begins to monitor her blood sugar level the day she conceives, damage may already be done by the time it is under control.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center found that diabetics who smoke are two to three times more likely than non-smoking diabetics to develop kidney damage, often leading to the need for dialysis or a transplant. Smoking constricts blood vessels. In people with diabetes, this helps to push large protein molecules out of the vessels and into the kidneys. That can eventually lead to kidney failure.
Medical Options and Precautions
The drug treatment of Type II diabetes utilizes oral hypoglycemic agents. These agents are sulfa drugs (sulfonylureas) that appear to stimulate the secretion of additional insulin by the pancreas in addition to enhancing the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin. Some common examples of oral hypoglycemic agents are:
In addition to being limited value, there is evidence that these drugs actually produce harmful long-term effects. For example, in a famous study conducted by the University Group Diabetes Program (UGDP) on the long-term effect of Tolbutamide, it was shown that the rate of death due to a heart attack or stroke was two-and-one-half time greater among Tolbutamide users than in the group controlling their Type II diabetes by diet alone. The major side effect of sulfonylureas is hypoglycemia. Other possible side effects include allergic skin reaction, headache, fatigue, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, and liver damage. Due to the high risk of side effects, these drugs have to be used with causation. They should not be used in the following situations:
During infection, injury or surgery
Drugs do not always help everyone. Some people who use drugs obtain only partial relief.
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