Living with Diabetes

    • Brief

    • Making healthy lifestyle choices and staying healthy can help you to live well with diabetes and minimise the risk of developing complications. If you are a person living with diabetes, your healthy lifestyle choices should include regular physical activity, healthy eating and drinking, medication (if needed), blood glucose management and weight control.

    • When you get the diagnosis

    • Most people who are diagnosed with diabetes may already have symptoms. This can make you very sad or even deny it is true.

      It is best that you do not delay taking action by getting treatment immediately. The earlier you start management, the better your treatment outcome will be.

    • Work and your health

    • Diabetes is usually self-managed, with you taking charge of your daily care. You may need to schedule your meals and insulin or other antidiabetic medications around work. Do not skip meals or your medication, as this can cause you harm.

      Manage your stress; it can affect your blood sugar regulation. Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Whenever possible, avoid common stress factors.

      It is important to attend your clinic visits as scheduled so that your doctor can monitor your sugar trends regularly and notice any possible complications in time. Also, discuss with the healthcare provider if you are experiencing side effects that affect your quality of life.

    • Diet and nutrition

    • Eat a healthy, balanced diet—plan for every meal to have a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

      Many meals are simple carbohydrates like rice and corn (cooked or processed into pap or tuwo) and can hurt you. You should choose carbohydrates from healthier sources like fruits (like oranges and pawpaw), whole grains (like brown rice and oatmeal) and vegetables (like fluted pumpkin leaves and carrots), these keep your blood sugar more stable.

      Since diabetes is a disease of energy regulation, diets (and medications) are important in controlling it. Diets like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean diet can help you control the disease. In most of these diets, you eat a mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats- with more of your carbohydrates coming from healthier sources and larger quantities of protein.

      Keep hydrated. Drink water, not soft drinks. Avoid drinking alcohol and quit smoking.

    • Physical activity

    • Physical activity is an essential part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. Regular physical activity also helps your body use insulin more efficiently. The more active your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even activities such as housework or walking for longer periods can improve your blood sugar.

    • Support from Family and Community

    • Diabetes is a long term condition, and lifestyle changes are almost impossible to continue without the support of family and community.

      People living with diabetes may also suffer from depression and may require help getting things done when ill. Your family may be able to support you, but if you find you need more help, speak with your healthcare provider to get professional care.

    • Financial impact

    • Managing diabetes can be expensive. Most patients will spend N5,000 or more to buy their medicines in a month, if this includes insulin the cost can go up to about N10,000 per month.

      If you have a history of diabetes, you should speak to your healthcare provider about getting health insurance that is right for you.

    • Kulawa cares

    • Diabetes is a long-term disease and in time, most people will require insulin to manage their condition. You will require a mix of diet and medications to control the condition and slow down complications.