Diabetes affects around 16 million Americans and about 800,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Diabetes attacks men, women, children and the elderly. It spares no race.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness in Adults and amputations. It is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and birth defects and it shortens life expectancy by up to 15 years. So you can see what I am up against. It is up to me to make sure that none of these things ever happen to my daughter. My daughter Ashley has Diabetes Type 1. She will be 10 years old March 15th. Ashley has been a diabetic for 5 years.
Five years ago I was totally overwhelmed by all that information. I felt helpless and depressed. I was sure this was a death sentence for my daughter. This was because of my total ignorance of Diabetes. A person can live a full life with Diabetes.
It just takes some extra care. A good diet plays an important part in a Diabetics life. They need to put together a meal plan with their doctor & dietitian. My daughter has several meals a day. She has breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner & another snack. She has these meals at the same time every day.
This is important. It helps keep her body on a schedule and her blood sugar regulated. Skipping meals and snacks may lead to large swings in blood sugar readings. To keep blood sugar levels near normal a Diabetic must balance the food they eat with the insulin the body gets from injections and with physical activities. Blood sugar monitoring gives you the information you need to help with this balancing. Near normal blood sugar readings will help you feel better. Normal is between 70 and 120. They will also reduce your chances of complications.
Lets talk about how a Diabetic needs to eat. Everyone needs to eat nutritious foods. Our good health depends on eating a variety of foods that contain the right amount of Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat, Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber and Water. Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat are found in the food that you eat. They supply your body with energy. Your body needs insulin to use this energy. Insulin is made in the pancreas. If you have Diabetes, either your pancreas is no longer producing insulin or your body can’t use the insulin it is making. So your blood sugar levels are not normal.
Starch and Sugar in foods are Carbohydrates. You can find starch in breads, pasta, cereal, potatoes, beans, peas and lentils. Natural sugars are in fruits, milk and vegetables. There are added sugars in desserts, candy, jam and syrup. All of these Carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar. When you eat Carbohydrates they turn into glucose and travel in your bloodstream. Insulin helps the glucose enter the beta cells in your pancreas where it can be turned into energy and stored.
Eating the same amount of Carbohydrate daily at meals and snacks can help you control your blood sugar levels. Protein is in meats, poultry, fish, milk and other dairy products, eggs, beans, peas and lentils. Starches and vegetables have small amounts of protein. The body uses protein for growth, maintenance and energy. Your body needs insulin to use the protein you eat.
Fat is in margarine, butter, oils, salad dressings, nuts, seeds, milk, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, snack food, ice-cream and desserts. There are three different types of fat. Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. Everyone should eat less saturated fats found in meats, dairy products, coconut, palm or palm kernel oil, and hardened shortening.
Saturated fats can raise your blood levels of cholesterol. The fats that are best are the monounsaturated fats found in canola oil, olive oil, nuts, and avocado. The polyunsaturated fats found in corn oil, soybean oil, or sunflower oil are good too. After you eat fat it travels through your bloodstream. You need insulin to store fat in the cells of your body. Fats are used for energy.
So you can see what a big role insulin plays in your body. Good diet is very important for a Diabetic. Exercise is also very important. A Diabetic can live a healthy full life if they do three things. Eat healthy, Exercise, and inject the right amount of insulin. It takes dedication and hard work. But in the end it is totally worth it because it is your life.