Diabetes is primarily defined as a disorder that affects your metabolism, making the body incapable of digesting any kind of food taken by a person. It was widely known as a genetic disease, typically called diabetes type 1, which shows up at any time and at any age.
However, the recent statistics have illustrated that other forms of diabetes, caused by a number of reasons has been on a rise. This has also lead to rising numbers of diabetes patients and deaths caused by this specific disease.
In the US, diabetes today is the reason behind more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined as well as disruption in kidneys’ functions, multiple organ failures, heart attacks, amputations, and blindness. About 380 million people around the globe are diabetes patients with the World Health Organization claiming the number is likely to double in the next 15 years.
The most common types of diabetes affecting people are type 1 and 2 which are not considered as 100% curable with any normal medications. Others such as gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy might be treated if the recommended ways are adapted strictly.
But this does not mean diabetes is fatal no matter whatever changes are made. A few lifestyle changes can make diabetes manageable and reduce the chances of any further damage to the health or body that come with it.
What Causes Diabetes?
There are no general diabetes causes that can fit unto all the different types of diabetes, although they have the same effect on the body. In addition, every person can have distinctive diabetes reasons and experience.
Type 1 diabetes is the most frequently occurring form that is caused by destructions of insulin producing cells in the pancreas by the affected person’s own immune system. Insulin is vital for breaking down all sugar in the process of digestion.
This is usually cited as an autoimmune reaction as the body is destroying itself without any attack from foreign bacteria, viruses or substances.
An interruption in it means the body is unable to digest and absorb the food properly as well as store sugar in the form of energy. Instead, if not treated properly, sugar starts accumulating in the body parts and organs, making way for further damage.
The noticeable changes after a diabetic attack include increased sensitivity to possible toxins in any kind of food or drink followed by a severe bacterial or viral infection since the body becomes more vulnerable.
This is what happens in all types of diabetes such as diabetes type 2, but because of different causes. Genetic disposition is cited as the main reason behind type 1 while type 2 has multiple roots, the primary one being a family history of the disease.
A family history of diabetes does not mean every member of a generation is supposed to experience it in their life time. There are a number of conditions required to increase the chances of the disease triggering and ultimately developing into the specific person.
People with lethargic lifestyles, usually belonging to older age groups are more likely to start developing diabetes type 2 as these people are bound to have a poor diet filled with refined sugar, obesity with high cholesterol levels and lack of exercise.
A way of living contrary to this would ensure safety from type 2 diabetes no matter how many people in the family were unable to avoid it or reverse the effects as soon the symptoms start appearing.
Gestational diabetes is the third most popular type which affects pregnant women. There have been no researchers to find out the actual causes of this particular form but the factors that can increase the chances of a potential attack can be identified.
Family history, obesity and general health overall again hold an important position in determining the attack. Polycystic ovary syndrome, unhealthy menstrual cycle with fluctuating hormones or a baby weighing over 9lb can increase the chances.
Some researchers argued it can be related to ethnicities. Some ethnic groups have a larger chance of developing gestational diabetes than others due to genetics, climate, food intake and maybe even some cultural practices. This claim is yet to be proven as there is not enough evidence to support it.
Some common causes that can lead to diabetes are pancreatitis, glucagonoma which can disrupt the normal functioning of insulin production and accelerate changes of a diabetic attack. Diabetes can also be induced by overproductions of cortisol in the body which increases blood-glucose levels as well as some hormonal or steroid therapies like glucocorticoid.
What to Change For Managing Diabetes?
Diabetes can be hard to manage, especially when the biggest lifestyle change is related to food and daily diet. In a world full of delicious food and every day new restaurant launches, it can very hard to restrict diet and control. Always remember, medication is only effective as long as the diet is kept away from anything that can increase the blood sugar level.
The things to keep in mind regarding food intake during diabetes are:
- Have regular meals
Having to restrict diet does not mean staying hungry and avoiding any type of food at all costs. Having an appropriate serving of a fulfilling meal can help avoid hunger pangs and feel full for longer as well as maintaining the blood sugar level in the body.
- Switching to specific Carbohydrate
The type of food and Carbohydrate are as important as the size of the meal. It does not mean only 2-3 foods are allowed. Try to eat more slow-absorbing Carbohydrates or a combination of them with other while watching out for the portion.
Pasta, rye-bread, basmati rice, granary, oats, sweet potatoes, yams, porridge, and pumpernickel are some of the slow-absorbing Carbohydrate that is also delicious which are available in a variety of forms in restaurants and can also be cooked at home using diabetic-friendly recipes.
- Restricting Fat
Since Diabetes causes heart disease in a lot of cases, it is important to cut down on fat-rich food, especially if it is poly-saturated. Instead, opt for unsaturated or monounsaturated foods which are excellent for general health.
For dairy products, use low-fat versions. Avoid oily foods at all costs and remember baking, grilling and steaming are preferred over any type of frying including shallow-frying.
- Fruits and vegetables
Diabetes patients are suggested to incorporated five portions of fruits and veggies to their everyday diet to maintain vitamins, fibers, minerals that are required for a healthy body.
Packaged fruit juice and smoothies do not count and should be avoided by diabetes patients as they contain a lot of sugar and often just fruit flavoring instead of actual fruit.
Beans and Lentils
Baked beans, green lentils, chickpeas can be added to soups, low-fat burgers, and salads and enjoyed by any diabetes patient because these hardly make any difference on blood-sugar levels. Secondly, their added advantage of lessening blood cholesterol is also a plus point since it can help reduce diabetes effect on the heart.
All types of fish are healthy for people, especially diabetic patients as they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid that help prevent heart disease. Just make sure the fish is not fried or covered in thick batters. Trout, Sardines, and Salmon are some of the extremely delicious and healthy fish recommendations.
- Cut Back on sugar and salt
Cutting back on sugar is an obvious move, fundamental for patients of all types of diabetes. While sugar can be enjoyed occasionally, avoiding as much as possible is preferred. Salt goes the same way as sugar as it is one of the main culprits behind shooting blood pressures and heart diseases.
Lesser sugar and salt products should be preferred over full sugar and salt ones. Herbs and spices can be used in place of salt while naturally sweet fruits can be eaten to manage sugar cravings.
- Diabetic special food
An increase in diabetes patients has also led to a rise in diabetic-special products such as artificial sweeteners, jams, drinks. Do not buy this kind of products as they contain the same amount of calories and fat as the normal ones and lead to the same fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Sticking to the suggested foods can also sometimes offer the chance of eating food that has been restricted when the chances of it causing considerably harmful effects are lessened along with prescribed medication. The most observable effect of making changes in diet can be noted while checking blood sugar levels which will be healthier than before.