The Art of Managing Diabetes

We all know of someone or the other who suffers from Diabetes – it could be a family member, a friend or an acquaintance. In simple words, Diabetes is a condition when the body is either unable to make insulin (Type 1) or utilize it adequately (Type 2). In such a situation, there is too much of glucose in the blood or hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia affects the kidneys, eyes, skin, nerves, the reproductive system & the heart.

Experts in the field, doctors & dietitians can advise people on the type of  diet to follow & regular exercise you need to undertake in case you are obese or overweight. The risk of diabetes only increases with age, especially after the age of 45 years; talk to your healthcare professional in case diabetes run in your family. Women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are at an increased risk of developing diabetes. Lifestyle choices such as alcohol & tobacco consumption too contributes to the risk of diabetes.

The secret to looking after yourself or your loved one in case of diabetes is – effectively managing diabetes. Questions that doctors and dietitians get frequently asked include complications arising from diabetes, making the right food choices, staying fit & active to effectively manage diabetes. Although these choices appear tough, they will only enable you to live a healthier & more wholesome life.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of diabetes include dry & itchy skin on the hands & feet, sudden, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, ulcers or wounds that take a long time to heal & recurrent skin, gum, bladder or vaginal yeast infections.

Including a lot of green leafy vegetables in your diet such as spinach, cabbage and broccoli along with fiber-rich foods such as berries, nuts, whole foods & seeds can help maintain your blood sugar levels. These foods ensure that you do not feel hungry often, reduce the chances of your blood glucose shooting up after a meal, helps you manage your weight & enhances your body’s immune system. Eating seafood such as fish & shellfish rich in Omega-3, proteins & vitamins help tackle diabetic neuropathy and protects the heart from damage. Moderation is key when it comes to using artificial sweeteners as a part of your diet.

Exercising during diabetes helps you win half the battle over diabetes. You can start now if you have not been active in the past. People usually start with brisk-walking as one of the first steps to manage & control their diabetes. However, if you are unsure of which exercise to do to stay fit, it is advisable that you consult your healthcare professional & seek further advice.

You can understand how well you are managing diabetes if you regularly check your blood glucose levels. One can diagnose hypoglycemia and immediately take corrective steps to manage it.

Major visual problems such as blindness can be tackled early on in the diabetes battle if one regularly schedules an annual eye check-up. Complications relating to the eye can be easily detected during these check-ups such as cataract, glaucoma or retinopathy, enabling you to address & treat them on time.

Last but not the least, looking after your feet during diabetes is very important. Inspecting your foot once daily, trimming your nails, wearing the right kind of footwear & never walking barefoot are some important steps that can help you triumph over diabetes. Speak to your doctor or podiatrist about ulcers, corns or calluses on your feet, do not attempt to self-medicate or cut them out yourself.


Ms. Lubna Dhalani

Registered Dietitian

Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai


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