Living with Diabetes - Diabetic Diets and Why They're Good for You
Irene Wong was in her early 70’s, living in Kuala Lumpur when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Her initial reaction was shock and fear, overwhelmed by all the information thrown at her by her physician. She had to test her blood sugar at least four times a day, take Metformin, and inject herself with an insulin pen. She decided to look for a diabetes specialist, and learnt how to take care of herself whilst living with type 1 diabetes. With much difficulty, she managed to learn to deal with her condition. Irene recommends moderate exercise and cutting back on carbohydrates: “I mean if you desperately want that apple pie, go ahead and have it, '' says Irene - Just don’t combine it with a plate of fries and a large soda.”
In 2006 the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution to designate November 14 as World Diabetes Day, with the idea to raise awareness around diabetes: its prevention, the complications that can arise, and the care of people with the condition. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease and kidney failure, and is also one of the leading causes of death in the world.
The theme for 2021 World Diabetes Day is access to diabetes care. Millions of people with diabetes around the world do not have access to diabetes care. People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications, hence, world governments should take action to ensure medicine, technology, support, and care should be made available to all diabetes patients that require them.
Diabetes is a quiet disease, it creeps up on you, but taking regular tests allow you to monitor yourself and see how you are doing. Simply put, the goal of a diabetic diet is to control blood sugar levels. Preventing spikes in glucose levels will help manage the level of insulin your body produces. The diet is also intended to promote weight loss, as this is a large component of diabetic health, especially for seniors with limited mobility.
Caring for a Senior with Diabetes includes
- Keeping track of medication - Check for the correct dose
- Ensuring meals are eaten regularly - No skipping
- Heaping with blood sugar monitoring - if blood sugar is low, respond quickly with a sugary drink to 1 tablespoon of honey or jam
- Attending regular doctor appointments.
Here are some simple steps to help a diabetic to manage their diet, especially your elderly loved ones.
Aim for portion control
Have regularly set mealtimes.
Limiting sugar intake
A diet high in whole foods and low in processed foods
Avoiding excess salt
The whole idea is to REPLACE and not REMOVE to make a Diabetic Diet more enjoyable. Do not let Diabetes become an unwelcome visitor in your life.
Other than eat healthy, the following tips are important
Encourage your loved one to walk and move around the house. Alternatively, install exercise pedals at the foot of a chair, or set up a stationary exercise bike.
Aim to loose 5%-10% of body weight by exercising and making heatlhy food choices.
Do not Smoke
Smoking increases risk of complications.
Set Small Goals, and Make Changes Together
If your parents has diabetes, he will need to pay special attention to his skin care, his oral hygiene, and his feet (check daily for sores, blisters, infections, and heavy calluses).
3 Useful Resources
Diabetes Malaysia (DM) formerly known as Persatuan Diabetes Malaysia is a non-profit, non-governmental organization formed in 1981 and registered in 1983 to help people with diabetes to lead healthy and productive lives.
National Diabetes Institute
The National Diabetes Institute (NADI) is established to provide a dedicated and comprehensive service for diabetics, to prevent and control diabetes and its complications. NADI is a non-profit organisation managed by a Board of Trustees comprising representatives from the Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society (MEMS), Diabetes Malaysia (DM), Ministry of Health (MOH), Elected and Founding members.
Malaysian Diabetes Educators Society: MDES
The Malaysian Diabetes Educators Society is one of the leading Malaysian organizations for healthcare professionals providing diabetes education and management. MDES aims to improve the quality of life for people affected by diabetes, as well as those who are at risk, by enhancing self-management skills through education and public awareness.
Useful products recommended for diabetes
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