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  • Writer's pictureNathalia Zambakari

Managing Diabetes: What you should know

Updated: May 16, 2023

Desert Haven Home Care and Apollo Residential Assisted Living provide residents with high-quality supervision and treatment reflective of what we believe should be the three cornerstones of managed care for seniors: meaningful, patient-centered care, service and advocacy. Our staff and professional healthcare practitioners are knowledgeable and respected servants, familiar with the latest evidence-based research and outcomes. As we continue to provide our residents with best-quality care, service and advocacy, we are sharing with you – through our websites – these timely and topical insights into issues that impact our elderly loved ones. And, while diabetes can be a serious health challenge, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risks associated with the disease and to slow its progress, which are discussed below.

Managing Diabetes: What you should know

According to the latest statistics, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Currently, A total of 34.2 million adults in America are known to be suffering from diabetes.[1] The increased prevalence of this disease is thought to be highly associated with lifestyle evolution and dietary shifts over time, meaning there are steps that can be taken to manage diabetes. The following context is to provide an understanding of the different aspects related to diabetes.


Understanding diabetes

Diabetes is a medical condition in which glucose or sugar levels remain elevated in the bloodstream. Basically, insulin is a hormone that the body produces to make glucose exit the bloodstream and enter into cells where it’s used as a source of energy.[2] The brain is the most important organ that extracts energy from glucose.


There are two types of diabetes. One is Type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. A person suffering from Type 1 diabetes must take synthetic insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, our body is still producing insulin but doesn’t use it effectively. So, Type 2 diabetes means either our body is not responding to insulin as it should, or our body is not producing enough insulin.[3]


Symptoms

Since in Type 2 diabetes, our body does not use glucose for energy, it must have a different way to maintain metabolism and cellular functions. And, the process necessary leads to a variety of symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms become potentially worse and sometimes life-threatening.


Some symptoms include:

  • Constant hunger: Although the bloodstream remains full of sugar, you still feel hungry as the tissues or cells constantly struggle to produce ATP (a form of energy) from different sources.

  • Extreme fatigue: Low energy – tiredness or early fatigue.

  • Weight loss: An early indicator, weight loss occurs without an effort to shed pounds, as the body burns fat and muscle for energy.

  • Excessive thirst with dry mouth

  • Frequent urination

  • Itchy skin

  • Blurred vision

Diagnosis

If you are experiencing three or more of the above-mentioned symptoms, do not delay a glucose screening test.


Blood-sugar levels include random and fasting levels. Fasting blood sugar (FBS) measures blood glucose after you have not eaten for at least 8 hours. It is often the first test done to check for prediabetes and diabetes. Random blood sugar (RBS) measures blood glucose regardless of when you last ate. Several random measurements may be taken throughout the day.[1]


Random blood-sugar levels above 200mg/dL, and fasting blood-sugar levels above 125mg/dL suggest diabetes. However, fasting blood-sugar levels between 100-125 mg/dL indicate prediabetic condition.


Treatment

  • For Type 1 diabetes: Insulin Since the body does not produce insulin, it must be provided from outside. MetforminInsulin resistance can co-exist in Type 1 diabetes. To make insulin effective for tissues, metformin can be given.

  • For Type 2 diabetes: Metformin, SGLT2 inhibitors, etc., can be given. But, the most important thing is making adaptations in your lifestyle.


Prevention

Type 1 diabetes has genetic causes, and it cannot be prevented. However, the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by changing lifestyle, for example in dietary changes.[4]


Here are some of the basic preventive measures:

  • Cut excess carbohydrates and refined sugars

  • Exercise regularly [5]

  • Drink lots of water [6]

  • If obese, lose extra pounds

  • Quit smoking

  • Enjoy a high-fiber diet

  • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle

  • Enjoy your meals in portions

  • Maintain vitamin-D levels

  • Avoid processed foods

  • Some studies note that coffee nay reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. However, if you already have diabetes, coffee may negatively impact blood-sugar levels; always check with your physician.

  • Add natural herbs to your diet

Foods that help in controlling diabetes:

  • Leafy green vegetables

  • Fatty fish

  • Eggs

  • Avocados

  • Chia seeds

  • Beans, nuts

  • Yogurt

  • Olive oil

  • Broccoli

  • Natural herbs

  • Garlic7

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Strawberries [8]

When diabetes is not well-managed, it increases your risk for several other potential diseases. But, eating foods that help keep blood sugar and insulin manageable can dramatically reduce your risk for complications.


The importance of patient advocacy

Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine notes, “Healthcare advocates give patients and their families direct, customized assistance in navigating the healthcare system.”[2] Patient advocacy, therefore is a critical ingredient in managed-care assisted living environments like Desert Haven Home Care and Apollo Residential Assisted Living; it is a cornerstone of our pledge to our residents, their families and loved ones: Care. Service. Advocacy.


Patient advocacy and the positive, necessary role it can play in rehabilitation and quality of life matters, is often overlooked.

The many layers in today’s healthcare system have created a real need for several types of healthcare advocacy, although such advocacy and the positive, necessary role it can play in rehabilitation and quality of life matters, is often overlooked. In fact, a Harvard Business Review analysis found that 52 percent of patients in the U.S. cannot navigate the healthcare system’s complexity without help.[3] Without the worries of fighting your way through the healthcare system, you are able to focus more completely on your well-being and your management and treatment necessities, knowing that an advocate is working on your behalf with your medical team, healthcare agencies and companies; monitoring and confirming medication needs, arranging for targeted care that addresses specific challenges; and more.


Takeaway

“One thing that you really have to do is move forward. You’ve gotta really tackle this. You can’t be a passive patient.”

-Dr. Phil McGraw, TV personality, Type 2 diabetes patient


Diabetes is a metabolic condition in which insulin levels of the body are impaired, as a result, blood-sugar levels remain high. Constant hunger, weight loss, fatigue, dehydration and blurred vision are some of the symptoms of diabetes. Blood-glucose tests are carried out in order to diagnose this medical condition.

A person who is diagnosed with a prediabetic condition can prevent the progression toward diabetes by adopting simple lifestyle changes. Maintaining a diet with low carbohydrates, introducing an exercise regimen and avoiding sedentary behaviors can help reduce the chances of this progression.


Disclaimer

The material presented in this blog does not constitute medical advice. We encourage you to consult your primary care physician. The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice. If you or your loved one is considering the benefits of quality assisted living, please contact us at 602-670-9326, or email us at info@deserthavenaz.com.


About the Authors

Dr. Christopher Zambakari, B.S., MBA, M.I.S., LP.D.

Dr. Zambakari is the owner and operator of Desert Haven Home Care in Phoenix and Apollo Assisted Living in Glendale. A recognized leader in managed-care assisted living advocacy on behalf of the elderly, Zambakari provides experienced direction and oversight to ensure the care facilities provide the highest levels of customized care, administered by respectful licensed medical and caregiving professionals.


Nathalia Zambakari, Board Certified AGACNP-BC

Nathalia Zambakari is a board-certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and a licensed medical professional responsible for short-term care patients suffering from severe conditions. As part of the Desert Haven/Apollo care team, she reviews the medical records of incoming residents, helping the professional staff to manage patient regimens. She leads evidence-based caregiver education to ensure the best care possible for the Desert Haven and Apollo residential communities’ residents.



References

[1] “Statistics About Diabetes | ADA.” https://www.diabetes.org/resources/statistics/statistics-about-diabetes (accessed June 7, 2021).

[2] A. T. Kharroubi, “Diabetes mellitus: The epidemic of the century,” World J. Diabetes, vol. 6, no. 6, p. 850, 2015, doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i6.850.

[3] A. D. Association, “Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus,” Diabetes Care, vol. 33, no. SUPPL. 1. American Diabetes Association, p. S62, Jan. 2010, doi: 10.2337/dc10-S062.

[3.5] University of Michigan Health. "Blood Glucose Test." https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw8252 (accessed June 21, 2021).

[4] S. Basu, P. Yoffe, N. Hills, and R. H. Lustig, “The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data,” PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 2, Feb. 2013, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057873.

[5] C. A. Rynders et al., “Effects of exercise intensity on postprandial improvement in glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity in prediabetic adults,” J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab., vol. 99, no. 1, pp. 220–228, Jan. 2014, doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-2687.

[6] H. A. Carroll, J. A. Betts, and L. Johnson, “An investigation into the relationship between plain water intake and glycated Hb (HbA1c): A sex-stratified, cross-sectional analysis of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2008-2012),” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 116, no. 10. Cambridge University Press, pp. 1770–1780, Nov. 28, 2016, doi: 10.1017/S0007114516003688.

[7] J. Wang, X. Zhang, H. Lan, and W. Wang, “Effect of garlic supplement in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” Food Nutr. Res., vol. 61, no. 1, 2017, doi: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1377571.

[8] S. Moazen, R. Amani, A. Homayouni Rad, H. Shahbazian, K. Ahmadi, and M. Taha Jalali, “Effects of freeze-dried strawberry supplementation on metabolic biomarkers of atherosclerosis in subjects with type 2 diabetes: A randomized double-blind controlled trial,” Ann. Nutr. Metab., vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 256–264, 2013, doi: 10.1159/000356053.


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