Whether you have diabetes or not, it is important to take time out for yourself, reduce your stress and pamper yourself. This is not being indulgent. Healthy living is not just about diet and exercise. It is also about taking care of your body and soul. Your eyes, your skin, your feet and your mental health.
So what is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease. This means that it lasts for a long time, often for someone's whole life.
For our bodies to work properly we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In people with diabetes, insulin is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body.
So when people with diabetes eat glucose, which is in foods such as breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurt and sweets, it can’t be converted into energy. Instead of being turned into energy the glucose stays in the blood. This is why blood glucose levels are higher in people with diabetes. Glucose is carried around your body in your blood. Your blood glucose level is called glycaemia.
What affect can Diabetes have on your body?
Some of the side affects of diabetes can include:
Your Eyes - If you have diabetes you are at risk of vision loss from Diabetes Retinopathy (damage to the very small blood vessels on the back of the eye). However, good blood glucose levels and blood pressure and regular screening can greatly reduce the risk of complications.
Diabetes Retinopathy can occur regardless of the type of diabetes you have, your age, or even the control you have over your blood-glucose levels. For this reason, everyone who has diabetes should have their eyes checked regularly. Begin when diabetes is first diagnosed, and then at least every two years after that.
If the damage is detected before it has affected your sight, treatment can prevent vision loss. Where vision loss has already occurred, treatment can only stop it from getting worse.
|Recommendation: Being proactive about your eye care is the best way to ensure good sight in the future. Part of this is to have routine eye checks. It is also important to protect your eyes, after all, they are the only pair you have. When outdoors wear good quality sunglasses. Make sure your eyes get plenty of rest, especially if you sit at a computer for long periods of time or watch a lot of TV. There's nothing wrong with sitting back and closing your eyes and listening to some nice soothing music . This will also soothe your soul.
Your Feet - When you have diabetes you need to take very good care of your feet every day. If you do this then you can prevent serious complications.
Your feet are at risk because diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and the blood supply.
There are two types of risk to feet, high risk and low risk. Knowing the risk and taking care of your feet can prevent serious problems even amputation. A doctor, podiatrist or Credentialled Diabetes Educator can carry out an easy and painless check on your feet to determine whether your feet have a low or high risk of developing more serious problems.
Low risk feet have normal sensation and good blood flow. However it is important to know that low risk feet can become high risk feet without symptoms, so regular checks are still as important.
People who have had a foot ulcer or amputation in the past have high risk feet. Feet with calluses or deformities like claw toes also have increased risk if poor feeling and/or decreased blood flow are also present.
Recommendation: If you have high risk feet you should have them checked by your doctor or a podiatrist every 3 – 6 months. In some cases you may be referred to a specialist or high risk foot clinic.
Pedicures, by an experienced professional, are a great way to keep your feet in good shape and the moisturiser massage that comes with a pedicure is good for the circulation and skin conditioning.
Your Skin - The skin is the body’s largest organ and performs several important roles in protecting your health. Your skin acts as a barrier between the dry and potentially dangerous outside and the venerable inside mechanisms of our bodies. Glands associated with hair follicles produce the oils and sweat that maintain the barrier. The nervous system controls these glands and if damage occurs and the skin dries out, small cracks can occur which signifies the barrier has been broken. Moisture from beneath the skin can then leak out and lead to more cracking, which can increase the risk of infection and skin discomfort.
As we get older, we gradually lose the individual nerve fibres in our body which means that our skin cannot protect us as well and we are more susceptible to damaging factors from outside, such as dryness. Diabetes can accelerate this loss.
Dry Skin - Damage to the small blood vessels and nerves common in people with diabetes can cause very dry skin. This can lead to small cracks in the skin. When you have dry skin, over washing, excessively hot water, exposing your skin to the sun and not moisturising can make the problem worse. To help improve the condition of dry skin:
Recommendation: What about an occasional facial to help reguvenate your skin.
When you have a facial you will also be given professional advice on the best products for your skin.
It is also very relaxing.
Depression - Depression is very real condition and unfortunately is becoming increasingly common in the general population; approximately one in four people will experience it some time in their adult life. For people who live with diabetes this figure is even higher.
Research shows that having diabetes more than doubles the risk of developing depression. Living with a chronic disease like diabetes, coping with biological and hormonal factors plus needing to manage the disease on a daily basis may increase the risk of depression.
Depression can increase the likelihood of developing diabetes complications. People with depression may find it harder to deal with everyday tasks. Over time, managing diabetes (regular blood glucose testing, taking medication, following a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity) can take its toll. This may increase a person’s risk of depression, which may in turn lead to their usual diabetes care being neglected.
But depression is just like any other illness, it can be treated. Treatment can lift the depression and improve diabetes control.
Looking after your diabetes will help decrease the risk of getting depression. If you already have depression, good diabetes management will help lessen the negative impacts it can have. Depression is no different to any of the other complication of diabetes. It is a genuine illness for which you need to seek help and support from health professionals.
|Recommendation: Apart from seeking help and support from your friends, family and professionals, try and take time out to pamper yourself. It is not only good for the body it is great for the soul. Just simply taking time out and soaking in a bath or meeting friends for coffee or the movies, reading a book, going for walk, having a "power nap", watching TV - whatever you like to do to relax. The main thing is to take care of yourself. So why not go and have that massage .... you know you deserve it! And of course ..... you can always try retail therapy!!|
If you would like more information on how to take care of yourself with or without diabetes speak to your Pharmacist today!
The background for this article was based on information on www.diabetesaustralia.com.au