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Control Your Diabetes Before It Controls You!Back to Articles

For too long Bahamians have been plagued with this very debilitating disease called diabetes. In every family there is some one who is suffering from an amputated leg, the misfortune of renal dialysis (use of the kidney machine), stroke, heart disease or they are still mourning the untimely death of a loved one. Many accept this plague as a way of life and have resigned their case to statements like, “something has to take you” or “when you die, it’s just your time.” I agree that all of us inevitably will die some day if the Lord delays His coming, but most of us can avoid the suffering that comes with diabetes by preventing or managing diabetes through diet and lifestyle changes. You Can Take Charge of Your Health!

In Ecclesiastes 7:17 the question is asked, “ Why shouldest thou die before thy time?” This is a very sobering question. It implies that one can die before his time. People are dying all around us from preventable or manageable diseases. This does not have to happen to you.

If you have diabetes, don’t just sit there and get worst. Do something about it! You need to get your blood sugar under control. Seeing your doctor once a month is not enough. Your blood sugar may read normal in the doctor’s office depending on what you ate that morning, but it can be sky high in the afternoon depending on what you ate for lunch.

Today, urine testing is no longer reliable for diabetes management. By the time sugar spills into the urine it is so high in the blood that the person may even need to be hospitalized. Random blood testing through finger pricks with the use of a glucometer is the best way you can manage your diabetes. It’s worth it because it saves you money and may add productive years to your life.

Once your blood sugar is up it is destructive even though you feel fine. You are damaging your eyes (retinopathy), your nerves (neuropathy) and your kidneys (nephropathy).

People seem to know that controlling diabetes has a lot to do with what we eat, but most people, including some health professionals do not understand what a diabetic diet consist of. People have been told that they can’t eat rice, bread, or potatoes and some have even been told that they can’t have salt when they don’t even have high blood pressure. There are so many don’ts without any dos, so many misconceptions and false information. In disgust and frustration many diabetics give up and eat the way they normally do until they experience the complications of diabetes and end up in the hospital.

The truth is, there are very few foods that a diabetic cannot eat. What they do need is the aid of a dietitian to help them develop a meal plan that they are willing and able to follow, that also provides the proper balance that will keep their blood sugar under control.

Diet is the principal means of diabetes management. Some people can be managed through diet alone without the aid of medication. You need the aid of both your doctor and dietitian or nutritionist. Your doctor knows whether you need medication. If you do, he can prescribe the one that’s best for you. Your doctor is not a dietitian and so cannot help you manage your diet. Your doctor should refer you to a dietitian. If he/she doesn’t, you need to refer yourself. Without the aid of diet management you will not be able to control your diabetes and you will continue to get worst. Medication alone cannot work.

Research has shown that being overweight increases the risk of non-insulin dependent diabetes, while just losing a few pounds will help in lowering the blood sugar. Your dietitian or nutritionist can get you on a good weight management program.

Along with diet, exercise can significantly improve blood sugar control. Exercise allows you to use up the excess blood sugar for fuel
while aiding in weight control. In order to get the best benefit; you will need to exercise daily for 20-30 minutes. If you cannot exercise daily, you can exercise every other day. Walking is one of the best exercises for most people.

Caution: If you have been inactive and are over 35, you should consult your physician before starting an exercise program.

Let 2000 be the year of diabetes control for you. Although we all have an appointment with death, let it not be said that you died before your time.

Words of wisdom for health and wellness from your dietitian!

Idamae Hanna M.P.H.,R.D. (Dietitian)
Write me at:
Better Living Health Center
P.O. Box N-7416 Nassau, Bahamas
Call me at Ph. 323-5473