Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.
Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
Avoid smoking or quit smoking if you smoke. Smoking increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and the risk of various diabetes complications, including:
- Reduced blood flow in the legs and feet, which can lead to infections, nonhealing ulcers, and possible amputation
- Heart disease
- Eye disease, which can lead to blindness
- Nerve damage
- Kidney disease
- Premature death
If you’re stressed, you may exercise less, drink more, and not watch your diabetes as closely.
Stress can raise your blood sugar and make you less sensitive to insulin. When you’re stressed, your body adopts a “fight or flight” response. That means it will make sure you have enough sugar and fat available for energy.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet consists of eating nutritious foods in appropriate portion sizes while avoiding or limiting non-nutritious foods.
Foods for people to eat may include:
- nontropical vegetable oils, such as olive oil
- legumes, such as beans and peas
- lean meat, such as sirloin and white meat from chicken or turkey
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain bread
- unsalted nuts and seeds
- non-fried fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and lake trout
Why take care of your diabetes?
Taking care of yourself and your diabetes can help you feel good today and in the future. If you have diabetes, you should try to keep your blood sugar level as close as possible to that of someone who doesn’t have diabetes. Check with your doctor about what the right range of blood sugar is for you.
Maintain a healthy weight
The majority of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. This is because excess fat in the body predisposes an individual to the insulin-resistant state that leads to type 2 diabetes.
If you’re overweight, you are almost certainly at risk for developing type 2 diabetes at some point in time, so maintaining a healthy weight is very important to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack. About 10 percent of people with diabetes have this type.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood.