Thursday, November 18, 2010

Survival of the diabetics

14 Nov 2010, The Gulf Today

ESTABLISHED by the International Diabetes Foundation and the World Health Organisation, Sunday Nov. 14 is globally observed as diabetes day - dedicated to raising awareness about the condition.
On the occasion, specialists shared their insight with The Gulf Today on how residents can continue to their live to the fullest - even with diabetes.
One expert, specialised in diabetes treatment, explained that diabetes is a condition where the quantity of glucose in the blood is too elevated.
The condition, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when the body doesn’t produce sufficient insulin or produces no insulin or the patients’ cells do not respond properly to the insulin that the pancreas produces, added Dr Ghada Aoun, specialist endocrinologist at Medcare Hospital in Dubai.
“This results in excess glucose building up in the blood, eventually passing out of the body as urine. So, even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements,” she added.
People with diabetes must know that as long as they follow their doctor’s advice and manage diet and exercise properly, they can still eat anything, but of course, in moderation.
Speaking on the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Dr Aoun presented a mandatory agenda about the dietary habit for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
“Having high-fiber foods which are rich in complex carbohydrates, will improve digestion, stabilise blood sugar levels and make the diabetics feel satisfied after meal,” she advised.
Meanwhile, the list of foods to be controlled includes sweets, simple carbohydrates like sugar, all baked items made of white flour, soda pops, fatty foods and salt, she said.
“Have six small meals a day consisting of three main meals (One meal approximately every 3 hours) and two or three snacks,” advised Dr Aoun.
However, pre- diabetics can eat small portions of simple carbohydrates like desserts, white bread, rice, jams, and controlled amounts of butter or margarine.
“Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly, thus raising the blood glucose levels suddenly. As it rises suddenly, it also goes down suddenly within one to 1.5 hours,” she elaborated, pointing out the dangers of diabetics eating the wrong kinds of foods.
“The unstable glucose level increases hunger and dizziness, increasing the chances of the patient going into a coma as low glucose level affects all body organs and their functions,” warned Dr Aoun.
She advised diabetics and pre-diabetics to control simple carbohydrates to keep the blood sugar levels in normal range. “Hypoglycemics have limited freedom to eat simple carbohydrates like pasta, white rice and white bread, but a hyperglycemic has to be on constant alert.”
Meanwhile, Medha Bhaskaran of Modern Pharmaceuticals also shared simple but essential steps in dealing with diabetes.
“Apart from eating regularly by having smaller and more frequent meals at regular intervals, diabetics should also exercise regularly after discussing with their doctor the type of exercise they should be involved in, such brisk walking, swimming or jogging, which could be adapted as a best routine,” she said.
According to her, patients should also examine their blood glucose regularly to be aware of the kind of food and activity affecting their levels.
“Diabetics must end all their ties with the habit of smoking, as diabetes is already a serious disease with high risk of heart disease and stroke. Smoking may complicate the patient’s condition with high blood glucose levels, and the nicotine in cigarettes can increase heart pulse rate and the carbon monoxide reduces oxygen in the blood,” she warned.
Patients always should strictly follow their doctor’s guidelines in taking medications. “Ensure that you only take medicines that are prescribed to you by your doctor, and with the right doses and at the right time.”
“Stress, whether physical, mental or emotional, should also be eradicated as it can raise the blood sugar levels. Stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol are known to raise blood sugar in boosting energy when your body needs it,” Bhaskaran elaborated.
“Try to effectively manage day-to-day things along with engaging with relaxing activities. If you just can’t avoid stress, try to learn some measures that can help you relieve stress like taking time out to breathe some fresh air or have a good talk with a loved one,” she advised.
Bhaskaran invited attention to another matter of significance - educating people around the patients. “Don’t keep your condition a secret. Letting your family and close friends know about it enable them help you watch out for your health. Any possible tragedy could be avoided if your loved ones are informed of the signs for dangerous high or low blood glucose levels.”
It’s important for diabetes patients and their dear-ones to also follow-up on health reports and changing treatments about diabetes, as the process may help them understand their condition better through the help of various sources, she explained.
Bhaskaran also advised diabetics to join a health group, be it a weekly group gatherings or online forums where diabetics can interact and gain knowledge from other’s experiences. “Sharing different thoughts and raising questions will ultimately aid you grab better solutions to manage diabetes.”
(Pix used for illustrative purpose)  

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