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Staying Healthy & Fit with Diabetes

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Once you have it, Diabetes is for Life


What is Diabetes?

There are so many variables that make it difficult for the average person to stay fit and healthy. Your age, gender, genetics, diet and of course you, and the effort you put into it are all determining factors of what your fitness level will be and if it will improve or get worse. I was recently asked to write for the people who really needed assistance in that quest. The people with health conditions which make it even more difficult to control your weight/health, much less have a six pack. I agreed and decided to write a series of articles on some of the more common conditions/disorders.

There are three different types of Diabetes and a recent study showed that about 8% of Americans suffer from a form of the disease. That's approximately 25 million Americans and the number is only growing. Diabetes falls into a category of metabolic diseases, (also called diabetes mellitus) when a persons blood sugar levels (glucose) are elevated due to the fact that their body's cells are not receptive to insulin or their production of insulin is insufficient for normal bodily functions. Some of the symptoms for the different types of the condition are similar, such as the high levels of glucose in the blood, frequent urination, always feeling thirsty, weakness and fatigued. Diabetes is extremely manageable, however if it is not controlled effectively, it can create a multitude of other health issues.

The different types of Diabetes


Types of Diabetes

There are three different types of Diabetes. Type I, also called juvenile diabetes or the insulin dependent diabetes. This form is usually developed in the teenage years, hence the "juvenile" name. Type I occurs far less frequently. Approximately 9 to12% of all cases of the affliction are Type I, and those cases will require insulin injections for the rest of their life, have blood tests done on a regular basis and adhere to a strict diet.

The most common form, Type II, 85% of the diabetics fall into this type/category. This form can usually be managed over a period of time with a consistent exercise program, a healthy, clean diet, and close monitoring of blood sugar levels. However the disease will progress gradually and eventually a form of insulin will be needed. People that are obese, over weight, do not exercise or perform any other kind of physical activity, and eat a lot of unhealthy food are more susceptible to developing this type. When a person is obese/overweight, chemicals are released that will cause the body's metabolic and cardiovascular systems to not function correctly. Just one soda a day can raise an obese person's potential for diabetes dramatically.

The third and last type of the disease is Gestational. This form usually affects women during pregnancy and is normally when the diagnosis is made. For the most part, this form can be managed with a good workout program and healthy diet. A small percentage will actually have to take medication. If Gestational diabetes is not controlled correctly, it can create difficulties during childbirth.

Keeping fit video by Diabetes and

You have to help your body maintain it's health


Exercise/Fitness plan

Before anyone with diabetes begins a workout program, it is absolutely imperative to get your doctors/health care professional's clearance before doing so. There are many benefits to a good exercise program, but there are also health risks involved. The body requires various things (sugars, starches, fats, proteins) for its energy metabolism. When you work out, glucose (sugar) is your fuel and exercise helps your body absorb insulin more effectively, so when your glucose levels are not maintained correctly, this can be very disruptive and have an adverse effect on your body. First off, glucose levels should be checked prior to any workout and at the conclusion of the workout. Close monitoring will assist you in learning how your body is responding to the exercising. A snack of some sort (preferably high in carbohydrates) should be carried with you during your workout, encase immediate energy is required and a card/bracelet stating your condition or any allergies, etc, should be carried with you as well along with a partner/trainer for assistance. Low to moderate intensity exercises/aerobics should be performed 3 to 4 times a week, depending on your fitness level and whether your doctor has restricted you from these activities due to complications. Flexibility drills, strength and resistance training (10-15 rep range) should also be performed once or twice a week, again depending on each individual. Exercise can potentially drop glucose levels significantly (especially in Type I) creating other health concerns with the kidneys and heart. So it is absolutely necessary to monitor your levels, your body, and see your health care professional regularly and keep him/her aware of your activities.

Some of the Best foods for Diabetes

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Diet for Diabetics

It would be wonderful if there was one specific diet for diabetics, but there's not. There's not one specific diet for anyone for that matter, with the condition or not. Everyone is different. For diabetics, one of the most important factors in dieting is monitoring their carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates have a greater affect on blood sugar (glucose) levels than proteins and fats. Research has shown foods that are low on the glycemic index have less of an effect on your blood sugar levels after you have eaten rather then foods that are higher on the index. Sugar, starches, and the previously mention carbohydrates have all shown to perpetuate high glucose levels. If at all possible, alcohol should be avoided. Most mixed drinks contain sugar and have just as many calories as fat itself. Unless it's your doctor, dietitian or personal trainer who has already learned your body over time, no one can tell you what diet is good/best for you. Bottom line, to keep your levels in check, you have to eat healthy and your take medication. (if some has been prescribed to you). Your health care professional should/can develop a healthy meal plan that is designed specifically for you, your body type and your condition.

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Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on April 30, 2014:

Very informative. Now my brain knows what to do to stay healthy. If only my stomach would listen to my brain sometimes:)

Nancy Owens from USA on March 17, 2014:

Lots of good information here. I recently heard that in America the occurrence of diabetes is rising at an alarming rate. This person said it is because most Americans have such sedentary lifestyles. Thank you for providing this useful and informative Hub. You write in a way that is easy for all to understand. Voted up!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 23, 2013:

I appreciate this very informative hub. Very useful. Thanks and voted up and sharing.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 25, 2013:

Healthy lifestyles definitely keep you away from such health issues, interesting, informative and a useful hub for many readers.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 24, 2013:

Thanks for this overview on the different types of diabetes and how to keep fit. Really good information!

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