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Living With Diabetes
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be bewildering.
Even though everyone knows it’s important to keep good control of the condition it can be hard to remember how.
Signs of Diabetes in Men
- Erectile Dysfunction.
- Increased Thirst.
- Frequent Urination.
- Unexplained Weight Loss.
- Blurred Vision.
- Slow Healing Wounds.
- Numbness or Tingling in Extremities.
- Recurring Infections.
- Darkened Skin Patches, especially in neck and armpits.
8 Things All Diabetics Should Be Doing
Let's take a look at the 8 things people with diabetes should consider adding to their lifestyle:
1. Seek Advice from Experts
If you’ve come away from the doctor’s office a little dazed and confused about your new diagnosis it’s quite OK to ask for another appointment and go prepared with a list of questions about medication or lifestyle changes.
It might also be helpful to ask to meet with a nutritionist to make sure your diet is optimized for great blood glucose control.
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2. Ignore Old Wives Tales
It’s a commonly held misconception that diabetics need to buy special “diabetic” food products and should avoid eating any sweet foods like cake and chocolate.
While it’s sensible to keep these empty calories for the occasional treat, no foods are actually banned. Yes – you can have your cake and eat it!
However, your doctor or healthcare provider might strongly encourage you to avoid these foods as much as possible if you are significantly overweight or struggling to maintain control!
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3. Take the Tests
If you are sent for any medical tests it’s vital you attend the appointments.
Diabetes requires regular check-ups of different areas of the body and ignoring appointments or skipping tests can mean medics miss the signs and symptoms of out-of-control blood glucose, which can lead to blindness, amputations, heart disease, stroke and ultimately an untimely death.
Regular checks you can expect include blood tests, checks of your feet and circulation, and specialized eye check-ups.
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4. Find a Friend
Being diagnosed with diabetes might leave you feeling upset, confused and frightened, especially if you don’t have any friends or family already coping with the condition.
Luckily there are support groups, national associations, and online chat rooms and message boards, all of which can provide reassurance or just a friendly ear to chat with about your fears and experiences.
Many people use these resources to swap diabetic-friendly recipes, or you might find a buddy to provide encouragement and support on any weight-loss or keep-fit program.
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5. Watch What You Eat
You are probably thinking this contradicts the advice in point two, but the fact is that while you don’t have to completely ban any specific foods, it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. As much as possible avoid “bad” fats, and pay particular attention to the carbohydrates you’re consuming.
People with diabetes are often advised to follow a low GI diet, consuming mostly foods with a lower glycemic index rating. This type of diet can go a long way to keeping blood sugars stable. There are books and online charts about the GI rating of foods and it’s becoming more and more common for products to be labeled “low GI” on their packaging.
Often only a few slight changes are required to make your normal diet a low GI one – for instance, you could swap cornflakes for porridge oats at breakfast time.
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6. Fight Back With Fitness
No one expects you to immediately switch from couch potato to marathon runner, but increasing your levels of exercise and fitness is very important to keep blood glucose levels low and stable.
If you are not keen on organized fitness sessions or the gym you could increase the distance or frequency of walks, walk more briskly, or take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator when you are out and about.
Swimming and cycling are both excellent for all-around fitness, and of course, don’t forget dancing is exercise too! Try a new sport, and for extra giggles persuade a friend to come along too.
You might find you enjoy your new fit self. You might even find you have that trim figure you’ve always wanted, you have more energy and you in general feel much healthier too.
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7. Avoid the Egyptian River
You know, de Nile. (Denial – get it?)
Yes, it’s an old joke, but often people with potentially serious health issues bury their heads in the sand and hope it goes away. Some people are embarrassed and try to hide their health issues from friends, family and work colleagues.
With diabetes, it’s especially important to be frank and honest at all times, as the nature of the disease means that if you become ill the people around you need to be able to tell health care workers about your diabetes. It could literally mean the difference between life and death.
On that note, if you are prone to hypos or hypers it might be wise to obtain a MedicAlert wristband or jewelry item that you can wear to alert emergency services to your precise condition and medications or to carry something in your purse or wallet that gives all the latest information about your personal medication regime and doctor’s contact details.
If you are buying insurance for any reason you must mention your diabetes. It’s tempting to avoid doing so if not directly asked to save money, but if anything were to happen you likely wouldn’t be able to claim.
So many other health issues can be linked to diabetes that you could easily find yourself stranded abroad with vast hospital bills after a holiday heart attack when the insurance company links it to your undeclared diabetes and refuses to pay out.
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Being diagnosed with diabetes is not the end of the world, and despite the higher risk of associated health conditions, is not a death sentence. Most people live long, happy lives with diabetes.
You can still sip Champagne at your child’s wedding and enjoy a slice of birthday cake. You might even end up slimmer, healthier and happier than before your diagnosis. So smile!
Read more about maintaining good diabetes management over at NewLifeOutlook.
When it comes to a diabetes diet, there are certain foods to avoid that can make symptoms worse. Find out what they are here.