Monthly Archives: October 2013

Lifestyle Changes In Managing Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is becoming more and more common primarily because of increase in the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle as well as obesity.

Lifestyle factors associated with obesity, eating behavior and physical activity, play a major role in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. In recent years, there has been significant progress in the development of behavioral strategies to modify these lifestyle behaviors, however, further research is clearly needed warranted.

Healthy eating habits and physical activity may help prevent or delay diabetes and its complications. Tailoring goals and targets to the patient’s preferences and progress, building the patient’s confidence in small steps and monitoring progress is important. A counseling program may be used to encourage positive choices, develop self-sufficiency and assist the patient in identifying and overcoming barriers.

The treatment goals for a diabetic are:

- Achieve near-normal blood glucose levels.
People with type 1 diabetes must coordinate caloric intake with medication or insulin administration, exercise and other variables to control blood glucose levels. New forms of insulin today allow for more flexibility in timing meals.

- Protect the heart and aim for healthy lipids (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels and control blood pressure.

- Achieve healthy weight
A healthy weight is usually defined as a weight that is achievable and sustainable rather than one that is culturally defined or desirable or ideal. 
Children, pregnant women and people recovering from illness should be sure to maintain adequate calories for health.

- Manage or prevent complications of diabetes
People with diabetes, whether type 1 or 2, are at risk for a number of medical complications including heart and kidney disease. Dietary requirements for diabetes must take these disorders into account.

Overall guidelines
There is no such thing as a single diabetes diet. Patients should meet with a professional dietician to plan an individual diet within the general guidelines that take into consideration their own health needs.

Weight management is the no:1 risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Even modest weight loss can prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. It can also help control or stop progression of type 2 diabetes in people with the condition and reduce risk factors for heart disease. People should lose weight if their body mass index (BMI) is 25-29 (overweight) or higher (obese).
Aim for small but consistent weight loss. Most patients should follow a diet that supplies 1000 – 1200 kcal/day for women and 1200-1600 kcal/day for men.

Unfortunately, not only is weight loss difficult to sustain but many of the oral medications in use in type 2 diabetes can cause weight gain as a side effect.

Sedentary habits, specially watching TV, are associated with significantly higher risks for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise even of moderate intensity (i.e., brisk walking) improves insulin sensitivity and may play a significant role in type 2 diabetes.
Because people with diabetes are at higher than average risk of heart disease, they should always check with their doctors before undertaking vigorous exercise.

Improving sleep
Not getting enough sleep may impair insulin use and increase the risk of obesity. It is always wise to improve sleep habits.

Medical science is continually advancing which means more hope for diabetics to live normal and healthy lives. Changes in lifestyle – weight management, exercise and better sleeping habits – go a long way in managing diabetes. It can be done!

How To Relieve Computer Eye Strain

We can’t live without computers these days. But the flip-side is eye strain. It is one of the leading work-related health complaints. Computer vision syndrome (CVS) causes fatigue, decreased productivity and more work errors.

People with diabetes have to be even more careful about eye strain. They are at risk of

developing retinopathy which damages blood vessels inside the retina causing vision loss and risk of blindness.

Here are some ways to relieve computer eye strain:

  • Get a computer eye exam (especially important if you are diabetic). Let your doctor know about the extent of computer usage at office and at home.
  • Ensure proper lighting. Eye strain is often caused by excessively bright ambient lighting – either from sunlight streaming in from the window or from harsh interior lighting. It is advisable to use fewer fluorescent bulbs in overhead lighting fixtures or use lower intensity bulbs. Position the monitor so that windows are to the side of it instead of in front or back. Adjust window blinds to reduce the amount of sunlight on the work station.
  • Minimize glare. Glares on walls and finished surfaces as well as reflections on the computer screen can also cause computer eye strain. Install an anti-glare screen on your monitor, if possible.
  • Upgrade your display. If you have not already done so, replace your old tube-style monitor (called a cathode ray tube or CRT) with a flat panel liquid crystal display (LCD), like those on laptop computers.
    LCD screens are easier on the eye and usually leave an anti-reflective surface. Old-fashioned CRT screens can cause a flicker on the screen. Even if this flicker is imperceptible, it can still contribute to eye strain and fatigue while working on the computer.
  • Adjust display settings. Ensure that the brightness of the screen is about the same as in your work environment.
  • Blink more often. Blinking re-wets the eyes to keep them comfortable and clean. Try to blink every 20 minutes or so while at the computer.
  • Exercise your eyes. Research has shown that it is harder for our eyes to maintain focus on computer-generated images than on printed images. Look away from the monitor every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object. This relaxes the focusing muscles under the eyes, reducing fatigue.
  • Take frequent breaks. Stand up, walk away from the work station, stretch arms, back, neck and shoulder. It is interesting to note that work output does not decrease because of these breaks. On the contrary, your efficiency increases.
  • Modify your work station. Place reference material on a copy stand adjacent to the screen or monitor. If possible, use a desk lamp to illuminate the print material but make sure it does not shine into your eyes or on the computer screen. Improper posture also contributes to computer vision syndrome. Adjust your work table and chair to a comfortable height, so your feet are flat on the floor in front of you. The screen should be 20-24 inches away from your eyes and slightly below eye level.
  • Consider computer eye wear. Your ophthalmologist can prescribe specially designed computer eye wear. Caution: this should not be worn while driving.

While computers have changed the very way we work, we should ensure that we protect against eye strain by taking these simple, but necessary, measures.