Depriving Diabetes Off Its Power – Take Control Today!
‘How do you manage to lead a normal life with Diabetes?’
‘Isn’t it difficult being conscious of Diabetes all the time and having to compromise on so many things in life?’
Well, yes it is! But that Diabetes and a ‘normal life’ cannot coexist is a perception sourcing demotivation in numerous Diabetics across the world.
Being a working professional and a Diabetic sure has its own share of complications, but to sideline such people as having an unimaginably difficult life is nothing less than adding an emotional misery to the physical complications that their blood sugar levels tend to create.
My name is Vijay Seth, a 25 years old Android App Developer with BeatO App. Having been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two years back, I have often wondered if my parents named me Vijay for a reason – as living with Type 1 Diabetes is a battle I fight to ‘win’ every single day. The diagnosis itself has been life-changing – helping me realize how the meaning of life changes if you are determined enough to achieve excellence in every single thing you do – including managing diabetes.
With my rigorous work schedule and (as I now realize) a rather indifferent attitude towards my health, the Diabetes diagnosis was admittedly not easy to accept. Shock and dejection preceded the meek acceptance of Diabetes. But soon I found myself mentally making note of all the changes – immediate and long term – which I would undertake to not let Diabetes take over my life.
More than the physical complications, Diabetes puts a person’s emotional and mental well-being at a severe test. Add to it the societal trauma and the huge taboo it has been labeled as, and even the most determined souls can easily kneel down to Diabetes. But this is where the catch is. We as humans become so accustomed to the lives we lead that any change is seen as a breach of our comfort zone. Adjusting Diabetes in my life was initially a challenge mainly because I was used to a carefree (or as it turned out, ignorant) attitude about my health.
Sounds like a story of any other Diabetic? So why am I writing this if it’s all the same in my case too? Well, maybe because for the past couple of years I have tricked Diabetes off all the possible tantrums it must have planned for me simply by decoding it in and out.
People often get into the complexities of Diabetes, making it seem like a life threatening matter and taking on additional stress. So why let stress ruin everything when you can follow a step-by-step approach to befriend Diabetes?!
Awareness acts as the basis for all understanding and knowledge, especially in case of any medical complexities in life. Even if Diabetes has invited itself in your life (unwelcomed as it always is), be practical enough to understand it completely. That’s where I started – reading as much as possible about the various types of Diabetes, symptoms, diagnosis, lifestyle changes, diet planning and measurements, and finally exploring in detail about the Type 1 Diabetes.
Having understood the disease, the next level demanded that I start implementing this understanding in my life which was now to be governed by my blood sugar levels. A wake up call that Type 1 Diabetes was for me, the physical routine that I had been following needed to be altered to a great extent. I couldn’t obviously become a fitness freak overnight, but had to gradually start exercising as advised by my health expert. And trust me; it began giving results within a month.
For the first time I could actually understand why everyone propagates ‘Watch what you eat’ formula so actively for Diabetes and even otherwise. And when I talk about Diabetic diet, Carbohydrates form the major concern. Because carbs are directly broken down into glucose, excessive intake will directly affect blood sugar levels. I have been extra cautious of what goes in through my mouth now. With a rigorous working schedule, it becomes difficult but I am now quite a pro at it!
When I was diagnosed with Diabetes, my heart sank. And according to my health consultant my heart has been at a greater risk ever since, quite literally. Just as Diabetes; coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke came uninvited. Solution? Maintaining a healthy heart and healthy blood vessels by watching what I eat and being physically active.
Another concern that drains the blood out of Diabetics is their fluctuating blood sugar levels. I was clear about one thing – only by keeping a stringent check on my blood sugar level can I understand their pattern. Hence I was particular about checking my blood sugar before and after meals, maintaining strict hygiene while doing so by keeping my hands and Diabetes kit clean. I have been able to keep it under control with my fasting and pre-meal levels ranging between 80-110 mg/dL and two hours later after meals levels within 50 points more than the pre-levels.
Diabetes can affect all of the blood vessels in the body, and can be potentially harmful to your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts. Although there are many guidelines to be followed to live a ‘normal’ life with Diabetes, the key is to acquire a wellness approach towards this lifestyle disorder.
I have understood the A, B, Cs of Diabetes – Monitoring my A1c (A=A1c) levels every 3 months, keeping my Blood Pressure under control (B=Blood Pressure) by following a healthy and active lifestyle, and ensuring my Cholesterol levels (C=Cholesterol) never goes out of order.
In the beginning I used to avoid or altogether skip my appointments with the health consultant. Not advisable at all, especially as I wasn’t aware and knowledgeable about the disease. Now that I myself have become more proactive towards managing my Type 1 Diabetes, it is easier for me as well as my health consultant.
Having befriended Type 1 Diabetes, I can however never be sure of preventing Type 2 and that in itself is quite frightening to be honest. But again the key is to – Take control to be in control. I am not only managing my Type 1 quite effectively (though my health consultant has complimented me for this only once despite consistently normal test readings!) but also am en-route to preventing Type 2 by following the below mentioned tips:
- Being physically active. Moving around after regular intervals despite having a sitting job.
- Exercising religiously for at least 30 minutes a day. I take breaks by skipping a day or two to not let it become boring.
- Grains, cereals, fresh fruits and veggies, low fat dairy and lean meat are my favourite now, but in small and measured portions.
- And constantly being aware my body’s responses to various situations, things and people etc. to understand if it is giving me any signs.
I won’t deny that it has been a difficult journey of accepting the Diabetes diagnosis and then overcoming its harmful effect to manage and live a tension free life. But what we forget is that Diabetes is not a social taboo and one shouldn’t let people suffering from it feel dejected just because their blood sugar levels say so. Diabetes already deprives you off a lot of things in life; don’t let it affect your happiness.