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Factors Affecting Diabetes Life Expectancy

written by: weborglodge • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/25/2010

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Left unmanaged, this incurable chronic condition can lead to complications such as heart disease which can impact diabetes life expectancy.

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    The Impact of Diabetes

    If you have diabetes, you have too much sugar in your blood. While that may not sound serious, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can seriously impact your body on several fronts. Too little sugar can cause a condition known as hypoglycemia evidenced by dizziness, seizures and coma. If your body is forced to use fat for energy, it can produce toxic chemicals called ketones.

    Excessive ketones in the blood stream can cause nausea and shortness of breath. Eventually, this condition leads to more serious complications such as fluid build-up in the brain and kidney failure. Managing your diabetes then is essential to avoid the consequences of uncontrolled blood sugar.

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    Diabetic Diet

    Fortunately, you can take steps to better manage your diabetes and improve your diabetes life expectancy. One the most important changes you can make is with your diet. The goal of a diabetic eating plan is to avoid the spikes and valleys caused by sugar in the foods you eat.

    A good diet will include fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein such as chicken and fish. Likewise, you should avoid the foods which can cause unhealthy spikes in your blood glucose levels such as sugary foods and sweetened beverages.

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    Weight Control

    weigh scale It is essential for diabetes to maintain a healthy weight. According to Mayo Clinic, fat plays a major role in how your body uses insulin. Insulin controls your blood sugar. Fat tissue is more resistant to the effect that this hormone has on blood sugar. Excessive fat may make it more difficult to control your glucose levels.

    Weight control is necessary not just through diet, but also activity. All body processes including exercise require energy which it produces from sugar. Exercise, therefore, uses sugar which will reduce the amount in your blood. Regular activity will also in effect, train your cells to better use insulin.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that diabetes is likely to increase by 2050. The agency estimates that one in three Americans will have diabetes, the same number of people who currently have high blood pressure. The agency links this trend to growing obesity rates. Only one in three Americans is at a healthy weight.

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    Diabetes Management

    The diabetes life expectancy can be improved through preventive measures involving the impacts that diabetes can have on your body. This will mean regular doctor visits to manage your medication needs. Diabetics should also have regular eye exams. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness.

    Because diabetes can affect your immune system, you should keep your immunizations up to date, including flu shots if your doctor recommends doing so. Regular dental exams can treat gum infections which can lead to more serious dental issues.

    You can improve your quality of life and better manage your diabetes by leading a healthy lifestyle and making your health a priority. With advances in the medical field, people are living longer and successfully managing their condition. It all begins with a commitment to good health.

    Photo by Laura Nubuck

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    References

    J. Boyle et al. Projection of the year 2050 burden of diabetes in the US adult population: dynamic modeling of incidence, mortality, and prediabetes prevalence. Population Health Metrics, October 2010; 8:29.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Leading Causes of Death - www.cdc.gov

    Mayo Clinic: Diabetes – www.mayoclinic.com