The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is access to diabetes care.
In 2023, the campaign focuses on the importance of knowing your risk of type 2 diabetes to help delay or prevent the condition and highlighting the impact of diabetes-related complications and the importance of having access to the right information and care to ensure timely treatment and management.
You may or may not be aware that I have Type 2 diabetes, I have had it for about the last 10 years but as time goes by it has been harder to manage. Diabetes affects everyone differently and so I can only speak from my experience but thought I would also share some information to help you understand more about it.
Type 2 Diabetes affects how your body uses sugar (glucose) for energy. It stops the body from using insulin properly, which can lead to high levels of blood sugar, if not treated.
Over time, type 2 diabetes can cause serious damage to the body, especially nerves and blood vessels, this news is frightening, as is the life expectancy of someone with Type 2 diabetes being shorter than someone without.
My risk of developing heart disease, stroke, foot problems, eye and kidney disease is increased.
I am lucky and I have access to good health care and have a diabetes health plan in place that gives me access to affordable foot care (feet can often be an issue for diabetics), a diabetes nurse, who helps plan and understand good care, a nutritionist who can assist with diet advice and even how to shop and read labels for high sugar content.
To reduce the risk of serious side effects of the diabetes I take medication for my high blood pressure (which is hereditary) and monitor my blood pressure. I also have regular blood tests to measure the levels of glucose in my blood over a 3-month period. I take metformin, Jardiance, Gliclazide and have now just added in Ozempic…the new drug around town that non-diabetics have been using for weight loss. I can see why as it certainly affects my desire to eat. I also see an optometrist every 12 months as again your eyes can suffer with diabetes.So let’s talk about what do I do every morning before my feet hit the ground - yep I check my blood glucose levels with the good old finger prick, this gives me a fasting level which I want to be below 9.
I am not really a breakfast person and there is a lot of contention now about fasting for diabetes. I currently have a coffee first thing and then will eat around 10.30-11 usually cereal and yogurt. But if I wake up hungry, I will have a banana with my coffee. Bananas are ok for diabetics even though they have higher carbs and sugar than some foods they also contain fibre and resistant starch which slows down the digestion and release of the sugar into your bloodstream.
These qualities make bananas a healthy, go-to snack for people with diabetes.
So, I said I start the day with a coffee, but can diabetics drink coffee? Very important for me and if you know me you know coffee is life! So thankfully, Yes I can, although I guess it’s like everything it needs to be in moderation, I have little to no sugar in my coffee and have to be careful how much milk I have again watching the sugars
Really the best drink though for me is water, this water. Water indirectly lowers our blood sugar by giving us the sensation of feeling full. This assists in not wanting extra food (carbohydrates and sugars), drinking more water will also increase blood circulation through our kidneys and filter out excess glucose (blood sugar) in our urine. So all in all water is the winning beverage. I do drink a lot of water and am lucky enough to have a Frank Green water bottle (a Mother’s Day gift) which I love to drink my water out of because it keeps it cold.
I bet you’re wondering about alcohol as a diabetic…. Well, I will save that for my next blog and also give you some tips on some great diabetic snacks and treats, including if I can eat potatoes.
Take care and make sure you get a regular yearly full health checkup including a blood check on those sugar levels.
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