Diabetes and tiredness
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with poorly controlled blood sugar.
Uncontrolled blood glucose results in diabetes sufferers becoming more easily dehydrated, as higher blood glucose levels means more trips to the bathroom. Increased urination brings on dehydration which can lead to tiredness, headaches and dizziness.
Other factors that could be contributing to fatigue in those with diabetes are underlying conditions like anaemia or hypothyroidism and diabetes-related complications such as damage to the kidneys, heart, and liver. Some medications can also cause tiredness, so it's important to speak to your doctor about your prescription and dosage.
Healthy lifestyle habits are the key to staving off tiredness. It's important to exercise every day, eat well, drink a lot of water, and take medications properly.
How diet and exercise fight diabetes
According to Diabetes Australia, if you have pre-diabetes, losing 5-10 per cent of your current body weight can prevent type 2 diabetes in nearly six out of 10 people.
Additionally, exercising helps your body’s insulin work more effectively, lowers your blood pressure and reduces your risk of heart disease.
Planning and preparing healthy meals is important, but you also need to consider your portion sizes.
About one quarter of your plate should be filled with low GI carbohydrates – wholegrain or a starchy food such as a low-GI basmati rice, wholegrain pasta or corn; one quarter of your plate should be filled with lean protein including lean red meat, fish, skinless chicken or tofu; and the last half of your plate should be filled with raw/cooked non starchy vegetables or salad like broccoli, carrots, salad, and/or beans.
Why low GI foods? They release glucose slowly and steadily, which means less spikes in blood glucoselevels. Low GI foods include traditional rolled oats, dense wholegrain breads, lentils and legumes, sweet potato, milks, yoghurt, pasta and diabetes-specific health shakes like Glucerna
Healthy eating tips
Here are some handy tips from Glucerna on healthy habits when managing diabetes:
- Eat regular meals and spread them evenly throughout the day – this helps manage your blood glucose levels.
- If you take insulin or other diabetes medication, you may need to have snacks between meals.
- Watch your snacks – choose healthy snack options.
- Try to include the whole family in enjoying the same healthy meals together – there will be no need to prepare separate meals.
- A dietitian can help you put together an individualised diet plan that works for you.
While exercise is important when it comes to preventing diabetes, if you’ve already developed the condition it’s crucial to you keep your blood glucose levels stable when working out. If they drop too low you can develop hypoglycaemia. Sometimes called a "hypo", in extreme cases it can lead to seizures or unconsciousness.
See your doctor for a full medical examination before commencing a regular exercise program and take it slow initially.
Diabetes Australia suggests drinking extra fluid before, during (only if prolonged exercise) and after exercise to avoid dehydration. The fluid may be water or a sweetened drink if extra carbohydrate is required, with 250 ml every 15 minutes or one litre of fluid per hour being recommended.
Extra carbohydrates before and during exercise can prevent hypoglycaemia, they can also be needed after exercise.
Glucerna are diabetes-specific health shakes specifically formulated for people with diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. When used as part of a diabetes management plan, it can help manage your blood glucose. Glucerna diabetes-specific health shakes contain a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates that help minimise blood glucose spikes when compared to fast-release, high GI carbohydrates.
Need more advice? Talk to your dietitian to determine a diet plan that can help you safely and effectively manage your weight and how nutritional drinks can assist in managing your blood glucose levels during exercise.
Brought to you by Glucerna.
*Food for special medical purposes. Use under medical supervision.