Diabetes is a medical condition in which your body cannot properly produce insulin or appropriately respond to insulin, causing an abnormal metabolism of carbs and an increase in the glucose levels in the blood.
Warning signs of diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may not experience symptoms in the beginning. However, over time, especially if you fail to get treatment as soon as possible or neglect to do some major lifestyle changes to lower your blood sugar, you may manifest the following signs and symptoms:
- Extreme hunger
- Increased thirst
- Unexplained and sudden weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Slow-healing cuts, sores, and wounds
- Skin, gum, vaginal, or other types of infections
To know if you have diabetes, you have to go see your doctor. You may need to undergo a series of tests to check your blood sugar levels and determine the cause of the problem. Below are examples of commonly conducted tests for the diagnosis of diabetes:
Glycated hemoglobin or A1C test
This is a type of blood test that can be conducted whether or not you fasted. It can provide your average blood sugar level for the last two to three months.
Random blood sugar test
This test is done by taking a sample of your blood at a random time.
Fasting blood sugar test
This test requires you to do an overnight fast before a sample of your blood is taken.
Oral glucose tolerance test
This test involves two steps. First, you have to fast overnight and get your fasting blood sugar level measured. The next step is you drink some kind of sugary liquid and get your blood sugar levels measured periodically for the next couple of hours.
Normal blood sugar level values
A person’s blood sugar level changes all the time. It tends to be higher after meals and usually drops after several hours of not eating.
Below are the normal blood sugar levels:
A person without diabetes
- Fasting = 70 milligrams per deciliter to 99 milligrams per deciliter
- 2 hours after eating = less than 140 milligrams per deciliter
A person with diabetes
- Fasting = 80 milligrams per deciliter to 130 milligrams per deciliter
- 2 hours after eating = less than 180 milligrams per deciliter
If you have diabetes or want to prevent diabetes, you should watch what you eat. Your diet should include foods that can keep your blood sugar levels down and not exacerbate your condition. The following are highly recommended foods for diabetes control:
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable that is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber, and has very little impact on your blood sugar levels. It is also rich in antioxidants, which can reduce your risk of cancers, heart disease, and other health problems.
Salmon is a healthy fatty fish that is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. If you have sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in your body, you can keep your heart and brain healthy and functioning right. You can also better control your blood sugar levels.
Kale is another nutrient-dense green leafy vegetable that has been found to be good for diabetics. There was a study in which test subjects were given 400 milliliters of kale juice to drink every day for a period of 6 weeks. In the end, it found that the participants showed significant improvements in their blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Mackerel is another kind of fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which can keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels stable. It can also improve your strength and endurance, and help you recover faster after exercise.
Broccoli is a very healthy and nutritious vegetable that can provide you with a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. Various studies have found that people with diabetes can reduce their insulin levels by making broccoli a constant part of their diet. In addition, broccoli contains antioxidants that can prevent dangerous free radicals from harming your cells, and reduce your risk of eye diseases.
Cinnamon is a widely used spice that offers a ton of health benefits. It contains powerful antioxidants that can enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. In one study, subjects with type 2 diabetes who ate cinnamon daily for a period of 90 days showed a significant decrease in their average blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, which is a substance key to blood sugar control. According to health experts, it contains viscous fiber that can reduce blood sugar levels by slowing down the processes of digestion and absorption. It is also low in digestible carbohydrates, which can help in weight loss and weight management.
Eggs are a versatile food that provides a long list of health benefits. They contain essential vitamins and minerals that can lower your risk of heart disease and inflammation. They can also keep your HDL or good cholesterol levels up, and reduce your LDL or bad cholesterol. In a study, type 2 diabetes patients who ate 2 eggs every day showed amazing improvements in both their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Walnuts are not only delicious, but they are also nutritious. They are high in fiber, which is great for blood sugar management and stability. Many studies have found that they can also help in lowering the risk of high cholesterol, inflammation, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity.
Brown rice is a type of whole grain that contains high concentrations of fiber. If a person with diabetes eats brown rice on a regular basis, he or she will have enough fiber that can slow down digestion and nutrient absorption, helping keep his or her blood sugar levels more stable.