• Type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune disease, is not preventable at this time
• Type 2 diabetes – 90% of diabetics – is preventable with lifestyle changes. Type 2 Diabetes is rising dramatically. Research has also shown that some ethnic groups are more at risk, such as South Asian and Aboriginal populations.
To help you stay healthy and live well with diabetes, we have some tips for you.
Healthy eating is an important part of taking care of diabetes. You can learn how to enjoy your favourite foods and keep your blood glucose levels within the target range.
These tips will help you:
1. Always eat 3 meals each day.
2. Eat your first meal of the day within 1 to 2 hours o f waking up.
3. Eat your meals every 4 to 6 hours.
4. If your meals are more than 4 to 6 hours apart, have a healthy snack.
Good food and drink choices:
• Choose high fibre foods like 100% whole grain breads, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, fresh fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils, oat bran and wheat bran
• Choose lower fat sources of protein like lean meats, chicken, fish, low fat cheese and tofu
• Drink lower fat milk and soy beverages
• Drink plenty of water
Eat less sweet foods that are high in sugar, high fat foods including fried food, butter and margarine and limit your alcohol use.
Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy with diabetes. There are many benefits that regular physical activity provides for people with diabetes. When you are more physically active you can:
• lower blood glucose
• improve circulation
• increase physical strength
• lower cholesterol
Talk to an exercise specialist who can also advise you about how to get started and maintain an exercise program.
Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity at a regular pace (when just starting your exercise plan, start with 5 to 10 minutes twice a day working up to 30 or more minutes).
Daily foot care
As always, prevention is the best medicine. A good daily foot care routine will help keep your feet healthy.
1. Wash your feet in warm (not hot) water, using a mild soap. Don’t soak your feet, as this can dry your skin.
2. Dry your feet carefully, especially between your toes.
3. Thoroughly check your feet and between your toes to make sure there are no cuts, cracks, ingrown toenails, blisters, etc. Use a hand mirror to see the bottom of your feet, or ask someone else to check them for you.
4. Clean cuts or scratches with mild soap and water, and cover with a dry dressing suitable for sensitive skin.
5. Trim your toenails straight across and file any sharp edges. Don’t cut the nails too short.
6. Apply a good lotion to your heels and soles. Wipe off excess lotion that is not absorbed. Don’t put lotion between your toes, as the excessive moisture can promote infection.
7. Wear fresh clean socks and well-fitting shoes every day. Whenever possible, wear white socks. (Fraser health , written by Jake Adrian)