After a diagnosis of diabetes, many are inundated with information about nutrition, blood sugar levels, medications, and exercise. It’s true; there’s a lot that goes into successfully managing it daily. At times you may wonder why all the fuss, or be overwhelmed, or give up. Diabetes is a chronic condition that, if not controlled, can lead to severe and sometimes life-altering complications. Diabetes management is not optional. Here are some of the primary reasons why.
Diabetes Affects Almost Every Area of the Body
When your blood sugars aren’t under control, the elasticity in your blood vessels decreases. In turn, they narrow, impede blood flow and reduce the supply of blood and oxygen. Blood pressure increases from the narrowing and causes more damage from the force on vessel and artery walls. When a condition affects your circulatory system, it also affects the areas that rely on the supply of oxygen, blood, and other nutrients. In addition to cardiovascular issues, a few examples include functions of the:
- Eyes– blurred vision and loss of vision can occur from damaged blood vessels and extra fluid moving in and out of the eye, causing it to swell.
- Kidneys– Lose the ability to filter waste like they should from narrowing and damaged blood vessels.
- Nerves– Cannot send signals due to the reduction in the supply of oxygen and nutrients. Pain and numbness in extremities occur, and amputation may be a recommendation when wounds aren’t noticed, and infection sets in.
- Gastrointestinal tract- Nerve damage causes interference with the ability to move food from the stomach to the small intestine, resulting in gastroparesis.
Besides maintaining target blood sugar levels, healthier changes in routine and diet can improve your health and reduce or eliminate some symptoms. Here are the basics every person with diabetes should incorporate:
- Adopt a healthy diet: Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Limit processed foods and avoid trans fat. Drink more water, fewer sugary drinks, and less alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy weight: A 5%-7% reduction in body weight can lower your triglycerides and blood sugar.
- Stay active: Regular activity increases insulin sensitivity allowing your body to control blood sugars better naturally. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week.
- Manage chronic conditions: Managing other chronic conditions can lower the risk of complications.
Help Advance Options for Diabetes
If you have diabetes, enrolling clinical research studies at Diabetes & Glandular Disease Clinic may be an option. Clinical research studies help evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new ways to potentially detect, treat, and prevent conditions like diabetes. Research participants make these advancements possible.
When you join a study, you learn more about your condition and better prioritize and manage your health care. To learn more about our current diabetes studies, call (210) 614-8612 or view and apply for opportunities on our website.