In 2015, it was estimated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), that India was the home to the second largest number of adults living with “Diabetes”, after China. It is a chronic condition that can lead to complications over time like coronary heart disease, cerebro-vascular disease, retinopathy (disease of eye), nephropathy (kidney disease), kidney failure and neuropathy (nerves disease). Though many of these diseases may not show any initial symptoms but can be prevented with a combination of regular medical care and blood sugar monitoring.
How can you Monitor Numbers?
It is important to check your blood sugar levels frequently if you are suffering from diabetes. Several people need to keep a check on their blood sugar levels regularly as it will enable the diabetes doctor to devise a treatment plan for better results. Hence, there is a need to focus on reducing the complications caused due to diabetes. You can do this by:
- Pricking your fingertip to know your average and daily blood sugar levels. You get the results within 15 seconds; hence you can keep them for reference. Monitoring blood sugars with finger sticks is a guide to know the correct oral or insulin dosage for managing diabetes. Usually fasting blood sugar should be within 80-120 mg/dl, and after meals less than 150-160 mg/dl. However, these targets may need to be tailored.
- Going for a blood test called A1C that gives you the blood sugar level of last three months. However, at Max, we recommend HBA1C of less than 7% population. The HBA1C target may be higher in people who are older or who have conditions that increase the risks associated with hypoglycaemia. A 1% decrease in A1C can reduce diabetes-related complications to some extent.
- Using meters that can test sites like thumb, arms and thigh. But, the results may differ from your fingertip. You should know that glucose levels in the fingertips changes more quickly than other testing sites especially after meal or exercise.
Those patients, who have been detected with heart problems such as heart attacks or angina, should not have a strict control on their diet as it can aggravate the risk of heart problems. Therefore, you are advised to consult your physician or endocrinologist if you are suffering from heart diseases.
Dietary changes are a must to control sugar and cholesterol levels. A healthy diet should comprise of:
- High fiber products and less processed foods e.g. instead of juice, consume oranges; instead of chapatti, consume white bread. Avoid having fried foods, purees and mithai.
- A low salt diet as it accelerates blood pressure and makes patients more prone to cardiovascular diseases.
- A carbohydrate diet, including carrots, beans, pumpkin, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, tomato).
- Apple cider vinegar- as it reduces the blood glucose levels by 40% and improves insulin sensitivity.
- Cinnamon- Few compounds are responsible for slowing glucose absorption as well as improving insulin sensitivity significantly.
Note: Some form of physical exercise is recommended to patients with diabetes. It is important to identify how much you can exercise rather being enthusiastic. It is a well proven fact if a person who has a sedentary lifestyle, starts exercising aggressively, resulting in a heart attack.