As someone in the healthcare profession, I immediately became the go-to for friends and loved ones whenever they have questions regarding their health (or the much broader subject of science in general) – they would ask things like, “what do you think of this?” *then proceeds to show a post of a very opinionated Facebook user going on about how the vaccine contains microchips, HIV, and so on*. But a question like this only started clouding people’s minds because of the pandemic. In the Pre-pandemic times, however, I get asked questions a bit more lighthearted such as, “What makes ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ foods?”
During meal times I must confess that I’m guilty of always looking forward to desserts – and well, who doesn’t really? Don’t we all love a sweet ending? And there are also chances that whenever I get a little bit of time to myself, I’d snack a little just to reward myself. This is particularly important to point out because having a lifestyle such as this (if unregulated), puts most of us at risk of developing a condition called Diabetes.
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is an endocrine disorder wherein the beta cells in the pancreas may have trouble making insulin (Type 2 DM), or absolutely cannot make some at all (Type 1 DM). And Insulin is one of many hormones in the body, this is particularly important in processing carbohydrates, fat, and protein. DM has become more tolerable as decades go by since health professionals already have a lot of information to work with. But on the flipside, CDC reported as of 2020 that although the rates of adults in America with diabetes have gone low (and 89% of those diagnosed were overweight), there is an increase in the incidence of diabetes among younger populations.
In order to prevent the development of DM in otherwise healthy people, WHO suggested the following lifestyle measures:
- Maintain a healthy body weight – which ranges from a BMI of 18.5 – 24.9
- Follow a healthy diet
- Keep sugar to a minimum and avoid saturated fats and smoking
And for those with diabetes, or who have a loved one with the disease, a great place to start learning is by differentiating the two primary symptoms that they commonly experience: Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia. I have provided a table that summarizes the symptoms below.
|Cold, pale skin (cold sweat)Shakiness / hand tremorsSudden hunger / craves something salty or sweetEmotional outbursts / drowsiness / extremely tiredPounding heartbeat / palpitationsNervousness / dizzinessAnxiety / irritability||Thirst / even after consuming a large amount of liquidsLoss of appetiteNausea / vomitingWeakness / abdominal painHeavy, labored breathingFatigueFrequent urinationBlurry / double vision|
When symptoms arise, the first thing you should do is to test your blood sugar on your glucometer.
- If you’re having a hypoglycemic episode, follow the 15/15 rule – eat 15 grams of carbohydrate and wait for 15 minutes. 15 grams of carbohydrate could be any of the following:
- Six jelly beans
- Two tablespoons raisins
- Four to six ounces of fruit juice
- Five to six ounces of non-diet soda
- If you’re having a hyperglycemic episode
- Take your insulin medication
- Do some physical activities, as tolerated
- Seek medical help if needed
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