The Most Important Lifestyle Choices For Diabetics
The diagnosis of diabetes can be a hard one and something you may not have expected. You know there will have to be changes in your lifestyle if you are to remain healthy. Here are some things you should know about the lifestyle choices that are critical to manage type 2 diabetes:
- Take a hard look at your weight. Not everyone with diabetes is overweight but many of them are, especially those with type 2 diabetes. This means seeing a nutritionist or a doctor and determining the appropriate weight for you and setting that as your goal. Look into any number of the many locally- or nationally-based weight loss programs. You can work with your doctor to come up with a weight loss program you can stick with.
- See a nutritionist. This can become something you do regularly or just in the beginning of your diagnosis. You can get some great written materials and can take notes on how you will begin your eating life as a diabetic.
- Begin to eat foods with a low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a type of food raises blood sugar. Some foods have a lot of sucrose or plain sugar in them and raise the blood sugar very fast. This causes a great spike in the blood sugar and is not healthy for diabetics especially. Low glycemic index foods gradually let your body adjust to the slowly rising blood sugar. You can get a list of the glycemic index of foods from the nutritionist or at a bookstore.
- Keep track of what you eat. This helps you know if your efforts at the end of the day have been successful. Look at the number of calories you took in. Pay attention to the number of fat grams you eat as well as the fiber in the food you are consuming. Fiber is good for a type 2 diabetes diet because it diminishes the rush of glucose into your bloodstream. It is also essential for heart health, and since 50% of diabetics die from heart disease or stroke, fiber can help prevent such complications. Fiber is also good for digestive health. The best sources of fiber are vegetables, berries, and whole grains.
- Be prepared to inspect your feet every night before you go to bed. Diabetics, like anyone, can be cut on something, step on a sharp object or have a part of their foot rub abnormally on a part of the shoe. In diabetics, these things don’t heal fast enough and infections can easily happen. Keep your feet clean and dry and make sure any open areas are checked every night to make sure they are healing properly.
A Word about Exercise
If you have type 2 diabetes, you should consider exercise to be a big part of your life. Exercise not only keeps your weight down, it burns sugars and keeps your heart healthy. Diabetics are at a greater risk of developing heart disease and exercise can ameliorate some of this risk.
There are two types of exercise: anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercise is strength training such as that with free weights or with the use of weight lifting machines. You can lose a moderate amount of weight and can gain muscle mass, which replaces the fat in your diet. Aerobic exercise means exercise that causes you to breathe hard and causes your heart rate to increase.
Aerobic exercise is the exercise you should focus on most because it positively affects your blood cholesterol, lowers blood sugar, and keeps your heart healthy. It includes things like riding a bicycle, walking, running, swimming, and dozens of other exercises that can you can do alone, with a partner or with your entire family.
Try to engage in aerobic activity at least 4-5 times per week for a half hour at a time. You can do anaerobic activity 1-2 times a week in between aerobic sessions. The added exercise will make you feel better and will help you to control your diabetes.
If you are new to exercise hiring a personal trainer that can develop a safe and effective routine just for you is a really great idea. They offer education, guidance, and invaluable support that will keep you on track!
Bariatric Surgery For Weight Loss To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
It is well known that obesity contributes to the development of diabetes. Losing weight can improve your blood sugar numbers and the outcome of your diabetes. The Centers For Disease Control report that even a 5% to 7% loss in bodyweight can yield significant improvements in insulin sensitivity, decrease the need for diabetes medications, and actually delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
While armed with this knowledge, it may still be difficult for some to lose enough weight to make any difference in the condition of diabetes. In fact, contrary to misconceptions about the obese, for many of them losing weight is a lifelong battle. It is not always a mind over matter situation, or a matter of willpower. Many obese people have tried hundreds of times with many different diets to lose weight and keep it off, but are unable to attain lasting results.
The obese often need help. Fortunately, several types of bariatric surgeries have been developed that can make drastic changes in your weight so as to reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes and reduce risks for the many other implications of both obesity and diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke and premature death.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is weight loss surgery done on the stomach to help you lose weight. There are several types of bariatric surgery you can have. One of them is called a gastric bypass. In this type of surgery, the surgeon stitches across the upper part of the stomach so that the lower part of the stomach has no access to food. The upper part of the stomach is called the pouch. It can only hold about one ounce of food at any given time. The next step in the surgery is for the surgeon to connect the jejunum, a part of your small intestine, to the pouch so that food goes from being eaten to the pouch (which is very small) to the jejunum and eventually out of your body.
A second type of bariatric surgery is called the Lap-Band surgery. In this surgery, a doughnut shaped sleeve of plastic is inserted so as to encircle the stomach. It is cinched so that a small upper pouch exists and a larger second pouch exists. Food goes from the first part to the second part very slowly through a narrow hole made by the doughnut. This causes you to take in less food at any given time. It does not interfere with the absorption of the food once you get it down. Because the upper pouch is so small, you cannot eat very much at a time.
Of the two, the gastric bypass generally causes the greatest weight loss. There are more severe types of bariatric surgery that aren’t done very often as they can cause severe malnutrition. When you lose weight, which will inevitably happen after bariatric surgery, your glucose numbers will go down and the effects of diabetes will be somewhat reversed.
Can diabetes be cured with bariatric surgery?
Diabetes isn’t a disease that can be turned on or turned off. If you have the tendency toward insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, the tendency will always be there. Even if you have bariatric surgery, if you fail the surgery and gain weight, the diabetes will still be present. Bariatric surgery can only help your system to behave in a non-diabetic way through its drastic effect on weight loss. You can’t cure diabetes but you can control it through eating healthy, losing weight and keeping the weight off.
The STAMPEDE Study
About three years ago, a landmark study began at the Cleveland Clinic that’s goal was to test the long-term control of type 2 diabetes because of significant weight loss.
The STAMPEDE trial is one of the largest randomized trials. It featured one of the longest subject follow-up periods to compare medical therapy with bariatric surgery.
At the three-year mark, the results showed that 37.5% of the patients who had gastric bypass surgery and achieved significant weight loss were able to reach target blood sugar reading without the use of diabetes medications as compared to the other two groups one that used medical therapy only and the other that had a sleeve gastrectomy.
To make it even more interesting, the study used a more aggressive target to define blood sugar control than the one used by the American Diabetes Association, with a hemoglobin A1C of less than or equal to 6%.
Bariatric surgery isn’t a cure for diabetes but it can do a great deal to make it better. It’s something to think about if the normal diet and exercise are unable to help you lose weight.
The surgery is done by specialized bariatric surgeons and supported by health care professionals. They can teach you the best ways of eating after having the surgery. You’ll need to severely restrict the amount of food you take in. It needs to be quality food for good health. It is possible for you to stretch out the pouch if you don’t continue to take in small meals; this could result in an increase in food intake and a return of the diabetic symptoms.