High blood sugar and high blood pressure can do a number on the tiny blood vessels in your eyes, but the damage can be prevented if your doctor spots it early. The best way to do that? A yearly dilated eye exam. With the help of eyedrops that enlarge your pupils for a short time, your eye doctor will examine the inside of your eyes for signs of leaky blood vessels. It's a painless test, but you won't be able to see clearly for a few hours afterward.
Your doctor will ask you to fast overnight and then drink a sweet liquid with 75 grams of glucose. Two hours later, a sample of your blood will be taken and sent for analysis. The normal levels are less than 140 mg/dL after two hours. If you have a level of 200 mg/dL or higher after two hours, then it means you have diabetes. Prediabetes means having levels at 140 to 199 mg/dL after two hours.5
Diabetes can cause major health problems if you do not keep your blood sugar in check. However, you can stay healthy and feel good despite your diagnosis if you follow your doctor's recommended treatment plan and maintain a healthy lifestyle. By choosing foods wisely, exercising regularly, maintaining a normal weight, reducing your stress level, and making other modest lifestyle changes, living with diabetes will be easier.
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Although support groups aren't for everyone, they can be good sources of information. Group members often know about the latest treatments and tend to share their own experiences or helpful information, such as where to find carbohydrate counts for your favorite takeout restaurant. If you're interested, your doctor may be able to recommend a group in your area.
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High blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Lots of things can cause your blood sugar to rise, including eating too much, being sick or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication. Watch for signs and symptoms of high blood sugar — frequent urination, increased thirst, dry mouth, blurred vision, fatigue and nausea — and check your blood sugar if necessary.
Thiazolidinediones. Like metformin, these medications — including rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) — make the body's tissues more sensitive to insulin. These drugs have been linked to weight gain and other more-serious side effects, such as an increased risk of heart failure and anemia. Because of these risks, these medications generally aren't first-choice treatments.
The simple meals and snacks in this 7-day meal plan feature some of the best foods for diabetes: complex carbohydrates (think whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables), lean protein and healthy fats. We limited refined carbohydrates (like white bread, white pasta and white rice) as well as added sugars, which can spike your blood sugar quickly. We've also cut back on saturated fats and sodium, as they can negatively impact your health if you eat too much. What we definitely didn't skimp on is flavor. The meals and snacks in this diet plan feature fresh ingredients and plenty of herbs and spices that add flavor without adding extra sodium. You can plan to eat well over the course of this weekly meal plan.
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Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but today more children are being diagnosed with the disorder, probably due to the rise in childhood obesity. There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but losing weight, eating well and exercising can help manage the disease. If diet and exercise aren't enough to manage your blood sugar well, you may also need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.
Healthy eating. Contrary to popular perception, there's no specific diabetes diet. You'll need to center your diet on more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains — foods that are high in nutrition and fiber and low in fat and calories — and cut down on saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and sweets. In fact, it's the best eating plan for the entire family. Sugary foods are OK once in a while, as long as they're counted as part of your meal plan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends the hepatitis B vaccination if you haven't previously received this vaccine and you're an adult between ages 19 and 59 with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The CDC advises vaccination as soon as possible after diagnosis with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you are age 60 or older, have diabetes and haven't previously received the vaccine, talk to your doctor about whether it's right for you.
For Candace Clark, bariatric surgery meant the difference between struggling with weight issues, including medical problems triggered by obesity, and enjoying renewed health and energy. "I felt like I was slowly dying," says Candace Clark, a 54-year-old Barron, Wisconsin, resident who had dealt with weight issues for years. "I was tired of feeling the way [...]
When Ellis was first diagnosed, his A1c results were 7.2%. Now, after following his doctor's prescription of a healthy diet and plenty of exercise (Ellis spends 30 minutes on a stationary bike every night while he watches TV), his A1c levels are in the 6% range. Instead of having an A1c test every 3 months, the recommended norm for people with diabetes, Ellis goes in every 6 months.