Diabetes mellitus, more commonly referred to as just diabetes, is a metabolic disease — actually a group of metabolic diseases that cause high blood glucose levels, medically known as hyperglycemia. The disease is caused by either a resistance to insulin or due to insufficiency with insulin production.
Although glucose is needed for healthy brain function and for the body to function in general, excessive blood glucose levels lead to harmful consequences including dehydration, weight loss, fatigue and blurred vision. In more serious cases, a coma caused by high blood sugar may occur.
In addition to the symptoms caused by the disease, serious complications are also possible, including kidney disease or kidney failure, cardiovascular issues, blindness and brain issues. The medications used to treat the condition also cause harmful side effects.
For instance, the drug Actos may improve diabetes health, but it may result in a person developing congestive heart failure. And for those who already have congestive heart failure, it may worsen it when a person takes the drug. Heart attack and stroke have resulted from taking this med, as well.
Patients who have taken Actos for prolonged periods of time are more likely to get bladder cancer than those who do not take the medication. Actos is not recommended for patients who have had bladder cancer in the past because of this possibility. Although liver problems have not been directly connected with Actos, they have been linked to other drugs in the same category of drugs (thiazolidinediones), so patients who take the drug are required to undergo regular liver enzyme screenings to be on the safe side.
Because of the risks of diabetes drugs being so great and potentially life-threatening, it is no wonder patients are looking toward more healthy ways to improve their diabetes health. One of the most important parts of trying to cut out these pharmaceuticals is to live a healthy lifestyle, which may lead to a decrease in the number of drugs or dosages taken.
To positively impact diabetes through a healthy lifestyle, one should evaluate his or her weight. The National Institutes of Health notes that a person should have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25. Even if a person does not reach his or her ideal weight, he or she should still try to lose at least a few pounds to reduce blood glucose levels; every little bit helps.
A person who has diabetes should use alcohol only in moderation, due to the fact that alcohol can affect diabetes health by causing blood sugar levels to increase or decrease. An individual who has diabetes should only drink alcohol with food to avoid these fluctuations. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic states that in moderation means that a woman with diabetes should only drink a glass of alcohol per day, while a man with diabetes may drink two glasses per day. Since these drinks attribute to the amount of carbs a person eats, they should be taken into account when carb counting. Moreover, alcohol does not mix well with certain diabetes medications like sulfonylureas and meglitinides.
Tobacco products including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco should be avoided. This is because smoking increases a person’s chance of developing complications from diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, smokers with diabetes are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than people with diabetes who do not smoke. Smoking also increases other risks of diabetes, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, heart attack and stroke.
A healthy diet is also essential for achieving the optimal level of diabetes health. A diet for a person with diabetes should consist of fruits and vegetables. In addition, whole grains are vital because they are known to improve blood glucose levels. Eating plenty of fiber is important as well, since fiber has heart-healthy benefits like reducing cholesterol levels, which may be high due to diabetes.
Learning to eat a low-carb diet benefits many patients with diabetes. Carbohydrates are oftentimes responsible for raising blood glucose levels. A nutritionist or a physician may recommend a carb-counting or low-carb diet to assist with sugar levels.
Exercise helps an individual maintain a healthy weight. Exercise affects diabetes health, since it burns the carbs that elevate blood glucose levels. Exercise can prevent complications of diabetes like cardiovascular disease, too.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com, which offers accurate recall information on prescription medications and their associated risks. Please see our Actos Recall page for more information.
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