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  Diabetes is a chronic medical condition characterized by elevated levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This occurs when the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar) or doesn’t use insulin effectively.
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There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type I diabetes: Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakes the body’s insulin-producing cells for foreign cells and destroys them. This results in little to no insulin production, so glucose cannot move into the cell and glucose remains in the blood, leading to high blood sugar levels.
  • Type II diabetes: Also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. In Type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or cells are resistant to the action of insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.
The causes of diabetes are multifactorial, stemming from genetic predisposition, environmental factors, lifestyle factors (e.g., obesity), age, ethnicity, pregnancy, and pancreatic injury.

Food and Blood Sugar Levels

Carbohydrates are known to cause a spike in blood glucose because they are broken down into glucose, which is absorbed from the gut. Foods like rice, bread, yam, and potatoes (when eaten hot), as well as pasta, are all classified as carbohydrates. However, foods rich in fibre (such as cooled potatoes, fruits, and leafy vegetables), proteins (like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and beans), and fats (from healthy sources like avocados) do not spike blood glucose levels. Instead, they slow down digestion and absorption while keeping you full. Portion control and meal timing also help prevent large fluctuations in blood sugar throughout the day.

Exercise and Blood Sugar Levels

During exercise, the skeletal muscles work harder, leading to increased muscular contraction. This heightened activity demands more glucose, prompting the body to utilize blood glucose as a fuel source. Once blood glucose is depleted, hormones such as glucagon, cortisol, and adrenaline, which are released during exercise, aid in breaking down the liver’s stored glucose. This additional glucose is then released into the bloodstream, allowing the muscles to utilize it for energy.
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Furthermore, exercise enhances the body’s sensitivity to insulin for a significant period, extending beyond the exercise session itself.

Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels

A device, Glucometer, becomes invaluable for monitoring blood glucose levels, even in the comfort of one’s home. For individuals previously diagnosed with diabetes, it is essential to regularly check and document their blood glucose levels before and after meals. To ensure accurate results, it’s crucial to adhere closely to the manufacturer’s instructions when using the Glucometer. Following these guidelines meticulously can help avoid erroneous readings and ensure the effectiveness of blood glucose monitoring for managing diabetes effectively.

Medication Management

Doctors prescribe the most suitable class of drugs for diabetes management based on each patient’s individual needs and medical history. It is crucial for patients not to self-prescribe antidiabetic medications. Adherence to the prescribed treatment regimen is paramount for effectively managing diabetes and minimizing complications. In addition to medication adherence, patients should prioritize keeping regular appointments with their doctor for monitoring of overall health and diabetes-related complications. These appointments are essential for assessing the effectiveness of treatment, making necessary adjustments, and addressing any emerging health concerns promptly. By following these recommendations, patients can manage and improve their long-term health outcomes.
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In conclusion, effective daily management is crucial for individuals living with diabetes to maintain optimal health and well-being. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as nutritious eating, consistent exercise, diligent blood sugar monitoring, and adherence to prescribed medications, individuals can proactively manage their diabetes and mitigate the risk of complications. For those who have already developed complications, it is essential to follow their doctor’s instructions meticulously regarding the management of these complications. Regular communication with healthcare providers, adherence to treatment plans, and proactive management strategies are vital for minimizing the impact of complications and maintaining overall health. By prioritizing daily self-care practices and collaborating closely with healthcare professionals, individuals with diabetes can enhance their quality of life and achieve better long-term outcomes.
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This article was first published on 3rd April 2024


I am a passionate health writer. Recognizing the lack of comprehensive health knowledge among my non-medical peers, I took to health writing to provide scientifically sound and easily understandable health information.

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