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Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose gets into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus), your body does not make insulin. With Type 2 Diabetes (Non-Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus), your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the number of diabetic patients in India more than doubled from 19 million in 1995 to 40.9 million in 2007. It is projected to increase to 69.9 million by 2025 (Link).
Family history and genes play a large role in type 2 diabetes. Low activity level, poor diet, and excess body weight around the waist increase your risk.(1)
Fig.1. Diagrammatic representation of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Photo Credit: askdrmakkar.com
There is no specific cure for diabetes. The condition can only be managed and controlled with regular exercise, proper dietary changes and a healthy lifestyle. In cases, where the blood sugar levels cannot be regulated and maintained with recommended dietary and lifestyle changes, appropriate medicines or Insulin therapy can prove beneficial. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications
After many years, diabetes can lead to serious problems:
-You could have eye problems, including trouble seeing (especially at night), and light sensitivity. You could become blind.
-Your feet and skin can develop sores and infections. After a long time, your foot or leg may need to be removed. Infection can also cause pain and itching in other parts of the body.
-Diabetes may make it harder to control your blood pressure and cholesterol. This can lead to a heart attack and other problems. It can become harder for blood to flow to your legs and feet.
-Nerves in your body can get damaged, causing pain, tingling, and a loss of feeling.
-Because of nerve damage, you could have problems digesting the food you eat. You could feel weakness or have trouble going to the bathroom. Nerve damage can make it harder for men to have an erection.
-High blood sugar and other problems can lead to kidney damage. Your kidneys may not work as well, and they may even stop working.
-Infections of the skin, female genital tract, and urinary tract are also more common.(1)
-Check your blood sugar level as advised by your doctor. Your doctor will help you set your blood sugar goals. Most people with type 2 diabetes only need to check their blood sugar once or twice a day.
-Maintain a well-balanced healthy diet.
-Keep your body weight under control.
-Exercise regularly after consultation with your doctor.
-Take medicines regularly as prescribed.
-Pay special attention at your foot.
Don'ts if you have Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
-Do not neglect if you have any of the symptoms of diabetes mellitus or there are some family history of diabetes.
-Avoid taking junk foods, foods rich in carbohydrates and drinks containing sugar.
-Do not stop taking medicines unless your doctor advises so.
-Do not neglect if you notice any infection or numbness of your feet.
To prevent problems from diabetes, visit your health care provider or diabetes educator at least four times a year. Talk about any problems you are having. Your doctor may prescribe medications or other treatments to reduce your chances of developing eye disease, kidney disease, and other conditions that are more common in people with diabetes. To prevent injury to your feet, check and care for your feet every day. You can help prevent type 2 diabetes by keeping a healthy body weight and an active lifestyle.
Regular exercise is important for everyone. It is even more important you have diabetes. Exercise in which your heart beats faster and you breathe faster helps lower your blood sugar level without medication. It also burns extra calories and fat so you can manage your weight.
Exercise can help your health by improving blood flow and blood pressure. Exercise also increases the body's energy level, lowers tension, and improves your ability to handle stress.
Ask your health care provider before starting any exercise program. People with type 2 diabetes must take special steps before, during, and after intense physical activity or exercise.(1)
Exercises for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus-Video Links
It is important to eat the right kind of food for a healthy mind and body. Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2) is a chronic metabolic disease where the body doesn't take up insulin properly which results in high blood sugar. It is recommended that people with diabetes should avoid fasting. Try to incorporate 6-7 small meals/snacks during the day.
Generally, all food items can be classified into six major groups (3) as shown in the Healthy Food Pyramid.(4)
Immediate Diet Plan
1.Include lots of fresh, seasonal, local and if possible organic Fruits and Vegetables.
2.Add plenty of Whole Grains (whole wheat flour, brown rice, whole beans).
3.Choose foods high in Good Fat such as olive oil, peanut oil, fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds. If you do not eat fish, talk to your doctor about taking fish supplements.
1.Say NO to all Sugary beverages and foods. Do not add any extra sugar to beverages like tea coffee etc. Especially important when diabetic.
2.Refined ingredients like white rice, white flour, maida should be completely omitted from diets. Especially important when diabetic.
3.Avoid combination of sugary and refined foods like cakes, pies, ice creams as they do the most harm. Especially important when diabetic.
4.Avoid Unhealthy Fats such as Cholesterol, Saturated and Trans Fat. Stay away from egg yolks, cream, butter, ghee, coconut, deep fried items, whole milk, dalda, vanspati.
5.Slash down any intake of carbonated, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
6.Curb your Salt intake, as sodium in the salt has to tendency to retain water in the body which can increase blood pressure and add other complications. Do not add salt while cooking and restrict consumption of packaged food. Refer to DASH diet.(5)
7.Avoid foods with a high glycemic index such as white rice, maida, potatoes, pineapple, banana, grapes, sapota, breakfast cereals etc. These foods increase the blood-sugar levels, for a bigger list go to
Below is a sample Diet Plan for a patient who is diabetic (type 2). Make sure to check the correct portion/serving sizes for each food item by going to these links.(6), (7)
Refrain from fasting and talk to your doctor or dietician about any restrictions on fluid or water intake. Do not add SALT or SUGAR while cooking or as seasoning. For cooking, try to use either Olive oil or peanut oil.
Life Long Instructions
It is never too late to adapt a healthy lifestyle and attain an ideal weight. Have a daily exercise regime in place along with a balanced diet. Eat foods that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Avoid foods high sodium content. If overweight or obese, loose the extra kilos and maintain a healthy weight. Quit smoking and cut down on alcohol. Check your blood glucose and blood pressure regularly.
Eat Right and Exercise your way to a Healthy Mind and Body.