»7 Things Only Someone With Diabetes Understands - Diabetes Treatment



7 Things Only Someone With Diabetes Understands

Chances are you know someone with diabetes: Almost one in 10 Americans lives with the disease. And yet most of us are fairly clueless about what they're going through. "People say a lot of stupid things to us," says Rachel Kerstetter of Cleveland, who was diagnosed 4 years ago. Want to lend some support? Read on to get the lowdown on what life with diabetes is really like.

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1. There are two kinds of diabetes—and they're not as similar as you think.

With type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in childhood or in the early 20s, the body suddenly stops producing insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in your blood. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, means that due to your genes, extra weight, or other factors, your body can't effectively use the insulin it makes and may need more than it can produce.

"Everyone with type 1 diabetes requires insulin supplementation, and about 30% of people with type 2 diabetes do," explains David Marrero, PhD, president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. And while people with type 2 diabetes may improve or even reverse their condition with better diet and exercise, "if you have type 1, the best thing you can hope for by taking insulin and regularly checking your blood sugar is that bad things don't happen down the road," says Marrero, who has the condition. (Want to ease your type 2 diabetes symptoms naturally? Then check out for your five-step plan.)

2. Speaking of complications, eye problems are a big deal

Diabetes may cause swelling and increased pressure in the eyes. As a result, people with diabetes are 40% more likely to get glaucoma and 60% more likely to develop a cataract, according to the American Diabetes Association. And the organization notes that almost everyone with type 1 diabetes and most people with type 2 will eventually develop nonproliferative retinopathy, a condition in which excess blood sugar causes tiny blood vessels in the retina to leak blood or fluid, impacting vision. People might not notice any vision changes until damage is pretty extensive, so it's important not to blow off eye exams because everything seems normal.

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3. Foot and leg pain are the norm. Ouch.

As many as 70% of people with either type of diabetes have some form of nerve damage that causes pain, tingling, and numbness, usually in the legs or feet. That's because high blood sugar interferes with how nerves transmit signals and weakens the walls of capillaries that supply nerves with oxygen and nutrients. "I get pains in my legs every day," says Carmen Feliciano of Bronx, NY, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago. "It doesn't stop me from participating in charity walks and wearing heels, but it takes extra motivation."

4. Diabetes raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Scary but true: Diabetes doubles the risk of these conditions by damaging nerves and blood vessels. In fact, two out of every three people with diabetes will die of heart disease or stroke. "But people with either type of diabetes can live happy, prosperous lives if they follow a healthy lifestyle," says Toby Smithson, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Hilton Head, SC, who has type 1 diabetes.

5. Get your mind off it for a day? Yeah, right!

"When you have diabetes, every decision you make—from when you eat to when you go to bed—has an impact on your blood sugar level and requires extra thought," explains Smithson. And sometimes you have to stop what you're doing to deal with it. "I've been out to dinner and had to stop mid-sentence to count carbs to know how much insulin to take," says Marikaye DeTemple Kane of Cranberry Township, PA, who was diagnosed with type 1 when she was 6 years old. Bottom line: Diabetes is a chronic condition that you need to be on top of 24/7.

6. A cupcake isn't off-limits, and veggies aren't a cure.

Don't give diet advice to a person with diabetes because you probably don't know what you're talking about. For example, it's possible for anyone with diabetes to work dessert into their eating plan a couple of times a week. "I've been offered dessert and had it quickly followed with 'Wait, you can't eat that,' " says DeTemple Kane. "But if I count carbs and adjust accordingly, I can eat it." On the flip side, a healthy diet chock full of veggies, lean protein, and whole grains may not be a magic elixir on its own, especially if the disease has progressed. "Although it's important, it's not enough for me to just watch what I eat," says Toni Holloway, of Dallas, who learned in July that she has type 2 diabetes. "I have to take three medications, and if I don't I'll be dead."

7. Checking your blood sugar all the time is no picnic. And people's reactions don't help.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people who use insulin test their blood sugar levels at least three times a day. But in reality they usually need to do it way more often—usually before a meal, one to two hours after eating, before and during exercise, and at any point that they simply feel off—so they know the right amount of insulin to take. "While I was at a restaurant, I opened one button on my shirt to prick myself to check my levels and a woman shouted, 'Oh, my God! That's disgusting! You should go to the bathroom to do that!' " recalls Marrero, who used the opportunity to educate the fellow diners about the condition.






Video: 29 things only a person with diabetes would understand

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Date: 19.12.2018, 03:18 / Views: 41241