Feb 08, 2018

Flat as a Pancake

With Shrove Tuesday on the horizon, it’s all about the pancakes. Are you a fan of the classic sugar and lemon combo? Or do you prefer a pancake feast of ice cream, bananas, chocolate spread and coloured sprinkles?

Some of us go all the way and eat nothing but pancakes for the whole day and, why not, it’s an annual treat, right?

And then there’s Lent.

The dilemma of whether you are going to join in the 40-day marathon. If you do take the plunge, what are you going to live without this time? 40 days without chocolate. Over a month without any snacking between meals. Or what feels like an eternity if you decide to leave your favourite tipple behind.

It’s a tricky decision, but one which can seem fairly insignificant if you’re living with type 2 diabetes where, what you really want to give up is the constant feeling of tiredness. Diabetes and fatigue have a close relationship and it can make day-to-day life very difficult. The smallest of tasks can be a huge effort and the motivation required just to leave the house can be a whole new challenge of its own.

Fatigue, or excessive tiredness, can disrupt many lives, but living with fatigue and a chronic illness takes it to another level. In fact, studies have shown that 85% of people with diabetes experience fatigue and it’s easy to understand why.

You only need to look at blood flow.

If you don’t have diabetes, your blood will flow like water. If you do have diabetes, your blood flow is more likely to resemble maple syrup. And it’s not hard to see how a thicker, slower blood flow makes it more difficult for your cells to provide energy and oxygen around the body. A sluggish blood flow can only result in a sluggish you, and this makes for hard work.

Fatigue can feel like a relentless battle. Once the tired feeling takes over, your energy and motivation to do anything disappears. This means that exercise is low on the list and poor dietary choices are high… which only makes people feel depressed. And, of course, depression leads to a more extreme form of fatigue, not to mention blood sugars which are no longer under control.

But you don’t need to let it get this far. Recognising that you suffer from diabetes-related fatigue means that you can put measures in place to control it and achieve that longed-for energy boost. And pin-pointing the cause of your fatigue is a great place to start.

Are you confident that you are getting all the energy you need from food – or are you making poor choices. Or even worse, skipping meals altogether.

Are you overweight and therefore suffering from sleep apnoea?

Do you have your medication under control or are you missing insulin dosages? Are you checking your blood sugar regularly and at the right times?

The good news is that all of these instigators can be self-managed and are often down to lifestyle choices. Here are some simple energy-boosting tips that could go a long way to fighting the fatigue:

  • Keep active, even if it’s little and often. Exercise boosts energy and helps you to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Understand food and how it can work best for you. A healthy, nutritious diet will keep fatigue at bay and give you the energy to exercise.
  • Don’t skip meals. This only leaves you feeling too hungry and making poor food choices to get a quick fix.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control. If you don’t have enough insulin or it isn’t working efficiently, your body won’t produce the energy you need to function.
  • Sleep, sleep, sleep. Give your body a chance and try to achieve eight hours sleep a night. Six hours should be the very minimum. Seek help with sleep problems.
  • Don’t take stress and depression lightly. These factors are draining on your mind and body. Visit your doctor, who will be able to find ways to help manage them.
  • Have a regular health check with your diabetes consultant. Expert advice is invaluable in helping you to manage your lifestyle for maximum energy.

Having diabetes needn’t be a barrier to leading an active lifestyle and taking good care of yourself. And, as with the Lent challenge, there is a major sense of achievement for doing these simple things well. So, make sure you reward yourself and put a few treats in place too – starting with some healthy pancake delights next Tuesday. Some great topping ideas include chopped nuts and honey, fresh fruit and mint, dark chocolate and bananas or raspberries and coconut yoghurt.

For more information on living with type 2 diabetes, or to learn a little more about the signs and symptoms, register for a free account at www.equalibras.co.uk today where you can also view hints and tips on energy-boosting recipes and exercise routines…great for at home or in the workplace.

Do you want to share?