Guide to Living with Diabetes, Symptoms & Treatment Options
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that occurs when the body can’t produce enough insulin to bring blood sugar levels down to a normal level. According to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, more than 29 million Americans are now living with diabetes and this disease claims the life of one American every 3 minutes. Diabetes can be a challenging disease for anyone at any age. Educating yourself about the condition and taking steps to take care of your health can prevent chronic pain and reduce the impact it has on your daily life.
Living with diabetes can affect you both emotionally and physically. You need to learn how to manage your blood sugar levels so they remain fairly stable and don’t put you in a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) state. Some people develop diabetic neuropathy, a painful condition where they experience sharp or aching pain, numbness and tingling in their fingers, and other symptoms. Without proper care or treatment, this type of pain can be debilitating and can only be managed with prescription medication, physical therapy, and by keeping good sugar levels under control.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: Usually a genetic disorder where the individual is born with a defect that prevents the body from producing enough insulin. Most Type I diabetes patients are on insulin therapy.
Type 2 Diabetes: The most common form of diabetes when the body is not using insulin properly (insulin resistant). Some Type 2 diabetes patients are on insulin therapy but most need to make lifestyle changes and take oral medication to keep blood sugar at a healthy level.
Gestational Diabetes: Develops only during pregnancy when placental hormones cause an increase in blood sugar levels. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this type is usually diagnosed during late pregnancy and some women are more at risk for developing it than others.
Common Diabetes Symptoms
Do you have diabetes? The American Diabetes Association has identified several symptoms that can go unnoticed. If you are experiencing any of the following on a regular basis, you may need to see a doctor for a medical evaluation:
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme hunger, even after eating
- Blurred vision
- Bouts of fatigue
- Slow healing response after injury
- Weight loss even after increasing food intake
- Tingling, bout of pain, or numbness in the hands or feet
Tips for Managing Diabetes
Watching what you eat, exercising regularly, managing stress effectively, and taking care of your health are essential for living with diabetes. If you are on insulin therapy, it’s important that you inject on schedule and keep track of how your body responds. Here are some things you can do to manage diabetes:
- Stay active and make working out fun
- Exercise portion control and limit sugary foods
- Get into a routine with taking insulin shots
- Keep your blood pressure low
- Manage stress in healthy ways
- Quit smoking
- Use your blood sugar monitor regularly
- Get regular checkups
- Manage your mood and seek help for depression symptoms
- Take your medication on schedule
Explore our library of articles about diabetes pain management, lifestyle tips, and health and wellness so you can enjoy life to the fullest even with a diabetes diagnosis.
- Diabetes Research Institute: “What is Diabetes?”
American Diabetes Association - Diabetes Symptoms
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases - Gestational Diabetes
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