Food, physical exercise, medicine: three things to control diabetes


THE goal of this article is to provide readers with advice on things they can do to control type 2 diabetes mellitus, elevated blood sugar level. The advice is on: food, physical exercise and diabetes medicine.

Diabetes is a serious lifelong, non-communicable disease that results from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates or starchy foods. The disease affects almost all organs, including the eyes, kidneys, nervous and the gastrointestinal systems.

It occurs because your body has been unable to produce or respond to the hormone insulin and control the blood sugar glucose level.

The result is that when you measure the glucose level sugar in blood or alternatively do routine urine tests, you will find you have an elevated sugar or glucose level. A normal blood sugar is 5-7 mg per 100ml of blood.

Sometimes patients diagnosed to have uncontrolled diabetes can develop macular degeneration as a complication of the eyes leading to blindness. They can also lose their feet because of gangrene.

If the subjects enjoy drinking alcohol, their chance of getting further complications including death may increase. A few months ago, I lost a friend who was also my neighbour.

He had diabetes but he used to drink alcohol and one night he went to bed to sleep with sort of normal eye sight but when he woke-up the following day he couldn’t see any more until he passed away.

The friend of mine and I used to have one for the road together. Worldwide approximately 29.1 million people are affected with diabetes.

In her recent unpublished Muhimbili University of Health Sciences (MUHAS) MSc Thesis in 2015, Biatha Shekalaghe studied “Missed Opportunities to Detect Dietary Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factors among hospital out patients in Dar es Salaam in 2015.

Shekalaghe found that 11.2 per cent of adult outpatients aged 45 years and above had diabetes, that is, they had elevated blood sugar level. She also reported that among OPD patients, 22.2 per cent had elevated blood pressure while 25.8 and 23.9 per cent were overweight and obese, respectively.

Surprisingly, majority of the outpatients diagnosed of the conditions agreed that they were not aware of the illnesses. There are three things one can do to prevent and control diabetes.

Take responsibility on the type of food you eat; do regular physical exercises daily; and take your diabetes medicines as per doctor’s advice. Compliance to the first two advises don’t need the doctor.

You need to focus on your mind to control body changes. Set your mind and focus on being healthy. You must have passion, persistence and desire to lose weight. Losing weight— even just a little is imperative, not only for you but for the family.

Change your lifestyle and behaviour. Avoid watching TV for many hours and instead you should use the time to do physical exercises. Join the gym and make sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercises daily for five days in a week from Monday to Friday and take a break and rest over the weekend.

However, if you decide to rest over the weekend you shouldn’t drink too much alcohol or attend parties where you won’t have control with the salt and oil that has been used to pre pare the food.

Whenever you attend parties, drink luke-warm water and refrain from drinking alcohol. Pretend you are on medication for malaria and your friends will understand why you aren’t drinking! Regarding your food, eat small portion sizes of starch mixed with fish, chicken and plenty of green vegetables.

As much as possible eat the vegetables while they are raw or steamed a little bit. Make sure you eat a variety of vegetables. Try to be selective and eat lots of cucumbers with their skin, also eat cabbages, lettuce, corn flower, spinach, okra or lady’s fingers, and carrots.

Regarding fruits, choose to eat avocado and watermelon, bitter gourd and African tomato. Monitor your body mass index (BMI) and stay within the normal range. If you must take beer don’t take more than two bottles per day.

Control the quantity if you are with friends. Avoid boozers who wallop and order indiscriminately. Concentrate on the goal and focus on your passion to prevent and control diabetes.

Do a gap analysis to find what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (This often referred to as the SWOTanalysis). If you find you have friends who push you to drinking heavily that is a threat.

If you notice you have a voracious appetite that is another threat. If your wife or husband gives you support when you refrain from drinking alcohol that is a good opportunity for you to capitalise on.

If your partner goes with you for a walk or jogging that is another opportunity. If you eat a meal at home that is well balanced (containing a carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals) and appetising, that is strength.

In return, you should show affection and hug or praise your wife. Give her good sex and thank her for having prepared for you such a delicious meal. To sustain, you should continue reinforcing such good behaviours by successive approximation.

In psychology, we encourage couples to show affection to boost sexual satisfaction. Be innovative and creative when playing the love making game.

If you reduce the size of your waistline by 2.5cm or an inch from the current size of your trousers or skirt you should also reward yourself and maintain that shedding strategy.

The other day I was reading a book from my library by Mark H. McCormack on “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School”. The book says that you cannot be taught everything at school; instead you have to be “Street-Smart” to read people and use that knowledge to get what you want.

Another book I also read a few years ago by Napoleon Hill on 101 Laws of success says that “people take the nature, habits, and power of those they associate with in harmony and sympathy”.

The essence of this is that if you associate yourself with people with certain behaviours or knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards life those behaviours will trickle down to you naturally, and within a short period you will you notice the difference if you continue to associate with such people in your environment.

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