Updates In Diabetes Management

As we learn more about diabetes, guidelines for managing this disease are changing and making life easier for those who have it.

Here are a few old ideas about diabetes recently challenged by research.

  1. If you inherit a tendency toward diabetes, you will eventually get it.

  2. Exercise makes no difference in the life of a diabetic.

  3. Diabetics should never eat sugar or foods containing sugar.

  4. Women with diabetes should not have children.

Here's what the latest research says:

  1. Not everyone who is susceptible will get diabetes. It's now thought that there are environmental triggers, such as viral infections.

  2. Not only can exercise make you feel better and relieve tension, it usually lowers blood glucose. Keeping fit also helps to lower the risk of heart disease.

    Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program, so you can achieve a balance between insulin doses (if you take insulin), meals and exercise.

  3. New diabetes guidelines revised by the American Diabetes Association in 1994 recommend that calories from protein should make up only ten to 20 percent of your diet, while the remaining 80 to 90 percent should be divided by carbohydrates and fat.

    The diabetic diet has also become more flexible about sweets. Now diabetics can allow themselves the "once-in-a-while" substitute of sugar and sugar-containing foods for other carbohydrates. Science does not support the long-held myth that sugars are more rapidly digested and absorbed than are starches and, therefore, more likely to cause high blood sugar levels. Research shows it's the total amount of carbohydrates you eat, not the source.

  4. Pregnancy is no longer as risky to the diabetic mother and child as it once was; however, you must be especially rigorous in caring for your diabetes prior to and during pregnancy, as children of mothers with diabetes have a higher than average risk of complications.

For an informative booklet, Questions Most Frequently Asked About Diabetes, write to The Sugar Association, 1101 15th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005.(NAPSI)

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