Thursday, 13 June 2019

10 Tips and tricks for Better Diabetes Management


10 Tips and Tricks for Better Diabetes Management


It is currently Diabetes Week and our goal for this year is to make diabetics more aware of their condition by improving the understanding around diabetes and how it can be managed.
In this article we will be looking at Type 2 Diabetes and ways to manage it. For a long period of time it has been believed that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease which becomes worse over time. However, ground-breaking research has shown that several strategies can be used to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of further complications.
As a diabetic, the one question that has perhaps come up in your head over and over again may often be “What diet should I follow?”. There is nothing more controversial, confusing or stressful than this question since there are numerous amounts of diet books, dietary opinions and articles out there, throwing all kinds of information towards you left, right and center. However, in reality, no single “diet” trumps them all. All approaches to manage type 2 diabetes or in fact any chronic disease come with their pros and cons, whether we’re talking about health effects such as blood glucose and blood pressure control or taste, cost effectiveness and convenience. So instead of thinking about following a strict “diet,” try to think about eating in terms of general strategies, or what this article is calling “tips and tricks”.  

After talking to various health professionals, diabetics and reading research, I came across some strategies that seem to keep blood sugar levels in range, provide a decent of energy, budget friendly, convenient and easy to adjust to different eating environments. That being said, I understand that eating habits and preferences are personal and so therefore these strategies may not apply or work for everyone. One should also remember to consult a health care provider before introducing changes to one’s diet, whether they’re big or small.

Where to begin? Brainstorming Your Eating strategies


1.    Test your blood sugar levels at least 90 minutes after a meal, if it is at its best (ideally 8.5mmol/l and under), begin jotting down what and how you ate? when and where you ate it and how did you go about managing your diabetes around these times?

2.    if your blood sugar levels are higher than the ideal values 90 minutes after a meal, again think about what and how you ate? when and where you ate it and how did you go about managing your diabetes around these times?

Once you start looking at your answers, can you identify any patterns or themes? If you find a pattern, then start looking at small guidelines or rules you can follow for making better choices at meal time.


Struggling to find a pattern or theme? Then take a few days out to record the foods that you’re eating and the blood sugar level readings taken before and 90 minutes after a meal. To make this easier, go ahead to the app store and download mySugr or One Drop (both apps are available on Apple and Android). Our main goal is to produce a list with a bunch of realistic eating guidelines that help you keep your blood glucose levels regular and give you enough energy throughout the day. Below is a brainstorm produced by a diabetic which you can use as sample or even follow it word-for-word. 

10 tips to follow every day to regulate your blood sugar levels:

1.    Try to limit your Carbohydrate intake to no more than 35 grams in one sitting. Although this is a super controversial tip within the Nutrition and Dietetics field, every individuals body is different and therefore before adjusting your Carbohydrate intake consult with your health care provider.
2.    Eat more vegetables. 
3.    Opt for whole foods more often.
4.    Cook your meals from scratch so you know exactly what is going into your food.
5.    Avoid Sugary and fatty foods such as pastries, biscuits, crisps, cakes and anything fried.
6.    Snack on seeds and nuts, they’re heart healthy and full of nutrients. You can eat fruits but remember to spread the portions throughout the day.
7.    Eat Lean sources of proteins, remove skin of poultry and fat off meat.
8.    Drink water or unsweetened tea.
9.    Eat a filling breakfast (Protein, Fiber) and ideally nothing within 90 minutes of bedtime.
10. Check my blood sugar 90-120 minutes after eating or wear CGM or Flash Glucose Monitoring if possible financially.
This list may look tough to follow considering our modern food environment, but once you start introducing these small changes into your lifestyle, you’ll begin to see better post-meal blood sugar levels and therefore, reducing the risk of hypoglycemia, which every diabetic wants to avoid!
Since this article seems to be lengthening out, I have decided to split the information I share in two separate parts, I will write a follow-up article focusing on the everyday challenges that may occur whilst following these principles and how to overcome them. I hope this article has been very informative and that you are able to come up with your own principles and guidelines. 


Resources:
https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.9.2266


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Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

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