8 tips on how to live with diabetes and eat like anyone else

Yes,  you heard me well. In those days, we had what was the “diabetic diet”. All that has changed today. Someone living with diabetes can and should eat like anyone else. However,  these are the caveat:

  1. Someone living with diabetes should avoid eating food and taking drinks or beverages rich in refined sugar eg ice-cream, sugar rich sodas etc.

  2. People living with diabetes should eat whatever food other members of the family are eating.  They should no longer have a separate pot of food. However,  the people living with diabetes should eat small – moderate quantities of food  spread over 5 – 6 meals per day. Their food should contain starch, protein, fat and vitamins/minerals like any other person.

  3. They should  take  most fruits and vegetables in moderate quantities; avoiding some with high glycaemic index such as pineapple and very ripe fruits.

  4. People living with diabetes should avoid alcohol and tobacco smoking….as both habits increase the  risks of  cardiovascular death to the diabetic patients.

  5. It’s erroneous to  deny people living with diabetes starchy or carbohydrate rich foods because of fear of the blood sugar rising. Such food types are energy giving food which diabetic patients need for their well-being and  day to day  activities. When denied such food,  they lose weight, are weak and tired most times.  The key word  as regards their diet is moderation……small but frequent meals.

  6. People living with diabetes who have other associated illnesses such as kidney diseases, hypertension or cholesterol abnormalities should reflect that in what they eat eg those that have hypertension should take low salt diet and those who have cholesterol issues should eat white meat (from chicken,  fish, turkey  etc)  in preference to red meat (from goat, cow, lamb, etc).

  7. People living with diabetes should avoid liquid or syrub medications eg blood tonics, cough syrups etc as much as possible because most of them are preserved with glucose and can cause high blood sugar levels.

  8. Finally, people living with diabetes who are on insulin  injections should always have some cubes of sugar or sugar rich soft drinks around them. Why?  To correct hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which could result as a side effect of insulin injections. Making such provisions could be life saving. It is  not the physician’s intentions that a diabetic patient should have  hypoglycemia but this complication (potentially fatal)  can occur.

In conclusion,  the era of very  strict dietary restrictions for someone living with diabetes is gone. With the current  dietary recommendations, someone living with diabetes has a better quality of life as he/she goes about his/her daily activities.

5 facts people should know why diabetes mellitus is not curable

Some practictioners promise people living with diabetes  that after taking their treatments, they will have a cure for diabetes mellitus. This is bogus and  deceptive. Why is this so?

  1. In people that have type 1 diabetes mellitus, the beta cells of their pancreas have been totally destroyed by autoimmune disease process leading to  absolute insulin deficiency. But,  in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients, about 50-75 percent of their pancreatic beta cells are destroyed by the time they are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus  resulting in  relative insulin deficiency. In the  latter, with time, the remaining beta cells will be depleted of insulin.  Because no medication – orthodox, herbal etc can revive a dead pancreas,  it’s obvious that  diabetes mellitus is not curable.

  2. Inability of the  target cells in the body (mainly liver, fat cells and skeletal muscle) to respond appropriately  to  circulating insulin (referred to as insulin  resistance) is another  means by which type 2 diabetes mellitus results.  Currently,  there are drugs  targetting this insulin  resistance but they don’t completely reverse it. Thus, one  can’t talk of cure for  diabetes mellitus.

  3. There’s some  disorders involving the  satiety center in the  brain resulting in disorders of appetite and resultant obesity. This is not easily corrected.

  4. Abnormal high production of glucose by the  liver cells is, also,  central to onset of  type 2 diabetes. This process is not curable.

  5. Finally, there are, also,  disorders of gut hormones and kidney reabsorption disturbances which have been found to contribute to type 2 diabetes developing in a person.

Because the above processes involved in diabetes mellitus development cannot be totally reversed by herbs, nutritional products  or drugs ,  one  cannot  talk of a cure for diabetes mellitus. At least  for now!  One has to live with it all the days of his/ her life.

However, there are promising developments in the  care of  people living with diabetes mellitus. The future is obviously bright.

A choice in the medical ward….

Mr Zack (not real name), aged 49,  has lived with diabetes for 10 years.

He matched on a stick stump and had a minor wound. Neighborhood nurse cared for the wound.

Three weeks later, whole foot got  swollen and painful

He consulted a herbal healer who said it was a type of poison called “acha ere” in local parlance. Antidote was commenced.

Four weeks later,  story did not change. He left the herbalist and presented at a private general practitioner’s office.

One week later, he was  referred to a Federal Medical Center where he was  reviewed by the  endocrinologist, plastic surgeon and orthopedic surgeon.

Verdict. He has gangrene of the  affected foot and would  need  amputation.

Time to take decision!! Zack chose to be discharged home against medical advice. He chose to  die instead of losing a part of his body. And, he died, at 49.

Choice made. End of  my story….. Leave your  comments.

Top 10 symptons suggesting that one may have diabetes mellitus

It is important  that  everyone should know the usual symptoms of diabetes mellitus so that should  one observe any of them, one should appropriately seek medical attention. This prevents the  person presenting to the hospital emergency room with diabetic crises.  The top 10 symptoms of diabetes mellitus are :

  1. passage of frequent, large amount of urine per day.

  2. Excessive drinking of water arising from excessive feeling of thirst.

  3. Feeling of tiredness and general body weakness

  4. Excessive feeling of  hunger and  increased appetite

  5. Unexplained weight loss despite good  appetite and excessive eating of food.

  6. Passage of urine that is very sugary in taste

  7. Having foot or leg ulcer that is finding it difficult to heal.

  8. Blurring of vision or deteriorating  eyes sight. Because of this, a significant number of people are diagnosed diabetic by the eye doctors.

  9. In women, vaginal discharge and itching could be the initial symptoms noticed while in men, the  presenting symptom could be poor erection or impotence.

  10. Finally,  diabetes mellitus could  present,  for the first time,  with an acute or chronic complication of diabetes mellitus such as unconsciousness, stroke, heart attack, abnormal  sensations in the feet/legs etc.

When one or a combination of these symptoms are noted in an individual,  it’s  wise  to seek medical attention. Delays  can be dangerous……..

Diabetes mellitus – life is all about making choices!

  • Deciding to do regular routine medical check up even when one is apparently “well” is a choice.

Deciding to visit the  hospital when a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is made and  not to  a herbal home, church /ministry, spiritual  center or stay at home is a choice.

Deciding  which hospital to  patronize – private,  government-owned, primary or tertiary health facility is a choice.

Deciding which antidiabetic medications a doctor should give  to a person living with diabetes – whether oral antidiabetic drugs, insulin or other injectable agent is  a choice.

Deciding to key into certain lifestyle changes as regards ones diets, engaging in moderate intensity aerobic exercise, stopping tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking and avoiding much sugar rich beverages is a choice.

Deciding to adhere to clinic follow ups, taking of prescribed medications religiously and self monitoring of ones blood glucose is a choice.

Finally, accepting decisions of the managing medical team including accepting lower limb amputation of a gangrenous leg or not is a choice.

In life, it’s all about making choices. Every minute, hour, day, month and year,  we are making choices whose outcome could be good or bad.

Soon, I will  share my story of a (not too good) choice made in our MEDICAL WARD!!

3 known facts why someone could develop diabetes mellitus

Factors that increase ones chances or risks of suffering diabetes mellitus in the  future include family history of diabetes,  being overweight or obese, indulging in sedentary lifestyle, eating food rich in sugar, having hypertension, not exercising and (for a woman) delivering a baby  weighing more than 4kg. One may have one or more of these risk factors and still  not  develop diabetes. There are three known facts in people that develop diabetes.

Firstly,  the beta cells of the  person’s pancreas produce insufficient insulin or produce no insulin at all. This could be from autoimmune diseases, drugs, infections, injuries, tumours etc causing damage to the pancreas. The  resultant effect is absolute or relative insulin  deficiency,  and  therefore diabetes mellitus.

The second known fact why someone may develop diabetes mellitus is failure of the  target cells to respond as it should to insulin. The  main  target organs where insulin act include skeletal muscles, liver and  fat cells. In this group of people, their  pancreas produce adequate amount of insulin but the target cells are non responsive to the insulin. This is called insulin  resistance and  it’s a known fact  causing diabetes mellitus.

Finally, degenerative changes involving the pancreas as a result of ageing or disease conditions is known to  cause diabetes mellitus. It is  known  that  with repeated injuries, insults, infections, inflammation etc to the pancreas  over time, the beta cells of the  pancreas will begin to function below expectations. One developing diabetes mellitus after 80 years of age  could  just be  part of the ageing  process involving all organs  of the  body.

However,  diabetes mellitus is not due to demons,  spiritual attacks, poison from enemies or due to  any curse

With this knowledge, you are in a good  position to  educate the  rest of us who still have lots of superstitions about  diabetes mellitus.

Reasons why diagnosis of diabetes mellitus in a person cannot be a death sentence again

For the Okons, a huge  cloud  fell over their  household when 60 year old Mrs Okon was found to have diabetes  mellitus on a routine medical visit. Her first reaction was to reject the doctor’s pronouncement. “It is not my  portion”, Mrs Okon replied the doctor. At home, Mr Okon and the children  concurred that “it’s not our portion”.

For  several weeks, Mrs Okon refused to  take the  oral medications which she thought was for the newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus. She, also, refused to  adhere to the dietary restrictions prescribed by the doctor.

In the  next couple of weeks,  the  symptoms of diabetes mellitus were  becoming more and more obvious in her. It was after  a visit to another medical  consultant who, also, confirmed  the  ailment that she decided to accept the diagnosis. When it dawned on the household that the situation is real,  she was depressed, worried and anxious. She asked several questions which included:

“God,  why me? “.

“When  will it be over? “.

“Don’t  eat this, don’t eat that, for how long? “.

“I do not take sugar much, how  come  diabetes for me? ”

“My parents never had diabetes mellitus, where did this one come from?”

These were some of her numerous unanswered questions. This  reaction of the  Okons to the  diabetes  mellitus challenge was not out of place. Most people living with diabetes reacted  in similar way at the onset of their illnesses.

The question now goes:  is the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus a death sentence? Is it  the end of the road for someone diagnosed with the illness?

Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is,  definitely, NOT a death sentence! Reasons abound to  support this stand.

Firstly,  diabetes mellitus is just one of several diseases like hypertension, obesity,  cancers, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, senile dementia and  so on. They are not  curable but people live with them and  age gracefully. People have lived with diabetes for 20, 30, 40 or more  years.  It, rather,  calls for some discipline, cost burden and some bodily inconveniences.

A second  reason why diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is  not a death sentence is because with the current advances in medical sciences and surgical procedures coupled with the current understanding of diabetes mellitus as a metabolic disease, many patients with type 2 diabetes have it reversed or “cured” after  bariatric surgery is performed especially for those who are obese. Again, some  dietary manipulations such as use of low-carb diets,  intermittent fasting or use of ketotic diets have been promising in people living with  type  2 diabetes.  For type 1 diabetes  mellitus, bio-engineered pancreatic B-cells have  been used to cure it when  implanted on someone. More so,  many scientists are  currently in the laboratories in many parts of the world working assiduously to  get a  cure for diabetes. This  could  happen any day from now!

Finally,  with a positive  mental attitude. one  soon realizes that one can  live and age gracefully with diabetes mellitus. It’s just  a cross  one  may be  called  upon to carry. Just imagine the case of someone living with diabetes who confessed  recently  that  having  diabetes is one of the best things that  ever happened to  her.  Because of  her understanding of the disease,  she  has been invited  to many  countries  of the  world  and at different  fora to make  speeches and give lectures on diabetes.  That’s positive living with diabetes!”.

On the contrary, if one decides to  see only  the  ugly side of  diabetes, then, it can be so. The choice is ours…..to view diabetes with a positive or negative  mental attitude.