Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar levels : hyperglycemia. It occurs due to insufficient production of insulin or cells in the body do not use it properly. As a result, changes in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins occur.
The WHO (World Health Organization) distinguishes three types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes): an autoimmune disease that occurs mainly in young people and less often in adults. Due to the autoimmune destruction of the cells of the pancreas, they do not produce enough insulin or produce it in very limited quantities.
- Type 2 diabetes (age-related diabetes): The pancreas produces insulin, but in insufficient quantities , or the cells do not use it properly (insulin resistance). It occurs in adults and is associated with being overweight .
- Gestational diabetes : occurs during pregnancy . Its occurrence is most likely due to insulin resistance caused by hormones produced during pregnancy.
The main symptoms of diabetes are:
- increased amount of urine excreted,
- increased feeling of thirst,
- excessive hunger and
- weight loss for an unknown reason.
Acute complications (hypoglycaemia, ketoacidosis, diabetic aketotic hyperosmolar syndrome) may occur during the course of the disease, and chronic complications (cardiovascular complications, nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy and microangiopathy) may occur as a result of disease progression.
Type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes are treated with insulin, and type 2 diabetes with oral antidiabetics and, in some cases, insulin. Self-help is only considered for extremely high blood sugar.
General tips for diabetes:
Diabetes control is based on diet, physical activity, regular self-monitoring, and treatment with insulin or antidiabetics, depending on the type of disease. In addition, it is essential that you learn about your illness , as this is the only way you can actively control it and live with it as normally as possible .
Diabetes diet should be balanced and healthy.
- Limit the amount of simple sugars (all types of sugar, honey, jam, gelatin, candies, chocolate, cakes, other confectionery, soft drinks, pickled fruit). These sugars are absorbed more quickly and cause sudden increases in glycemia.
- Eat fresh fruits, natural juices and compotes without added sugar in moderation, as they also contain sugars.
- Foods rich in fiber (whole grain breads and rice, fruits, vegetables, legumes) are very beneficial as they reduce the absorption of sugar and improve the transfer of substances through the gut.
- Protein: meat, fish, eggs, cheese. They are needed for body growth and tissue regeneration.
- Fats: olive oil. Reduce your intake of animal fats.
- Maintain a regular meal schedule and limit their number to five a day as this helps in better glycemic control.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages with too much sugar content: beer, sweet wines, liqueurs, sweet cider. You can enjoy low-sugar alcoholic beverages in moderation and while eating: dry wines, sherry and natural cider (natural cider)
Weight and activity in diabetes:
- Reduce weight if necessary.
- Physical activity: increases the effectiveness of insulin and lowers blood glucose levels, helps with weight loss and improves cardiovascular health.
- Don’t smoke.
- Periodically check your kidney function, blood pressure, vision, blood fats.
- Urine and blood self-examination techniques: It is important that you learn to keep a self-examination diary, with which you can assess your condition at any time and present your general condition when you visit a doctor.
- Carefully follow proper dental hygiene and perform regular dental checkups.
Foot care for diabetes:
Itching of the legs is especially important because of the neurological and vascular complications that can occur in the more severe form of the disease.
- Examine your feet daily for blisters, abrasions, or cracks. Also check for sores between your fingers. Cut your nails straight. Do not cut the blisters. Inform the podiatrist that you are diabetic.
- Wash your feet daily and wipe them gently, especially between your toes. You can also use a moisturizer.
- Avoid very high or very low temperatures. Check the water temperature in the bath / shower.
- If you have cold feet at night, it is recommended to use socks (it is best that they are made of linen and not tight). Do not put hot water bottles on your feet or use massage pads for soles.
- Do not use chemicals to remove blisters.
- Inspect your shoes daily for any foreign matter, nail debris, or torn insoles. Wear appropriately sized and flexible shoes. They must not be pointed or open in the area of the fingers.
- Wear appropriately sized socks. Do not wear socks that are thickened in the sole area or those that have thick seams. Change your socks daily. Do not use garters or socks whose upper edge is tight.
- Never walk barefoot.