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A Positive Attitude Goes a Long Way

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc. -
A Positive Attitude Goes a Long Way

One of the most important factors in living with any illness is the patient`s positive attitude, and this has been repeatedly confirmed in people suffering from diabetes. When I mention this, however, the response is often “How do you expect me to have a positive attitude when you`ve just told me I have diabetes?” That is when I point out the following:

It is both possible and sensible

Diabetes is one of the few chronic diseases which, if it is properly controlled, does not need to affect a person's quality of life. Often, people with diabetes live to a ripe old age, eventually dying of a completely different illness. It is not unusual for someone diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 45, for example, to live to the age of 95, possibly dying of a malignant tumor whose appearance had nothing to do with their diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease which, treated properly, does not produce symptoms or difficulties of any kind. This is why diabetics not only need to eat properly and stay active in order to keep it under control, they also need to have a positive attitude towards the disease itself.

With the help of exercise

Moreover, having a positive attitude, in addition to exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet without excesses, represents the best combination of anti-stress measures possible. This is extremely important because stress is one of the factors that most contributes to raising blood sugar levels. The normalizing effect of the glycemia that is produced by such anti-stress measures triggers a beneficial cycle that significantly improves our quality of life.

Furthermore, exercise, in addition to being an excellent stress-buster, plays a highly important role in fighting diabetes. Exercise acts on one of the main mechanisms of the problem by helping cells recover their capacity to use blood sugar more efficiently. Bearing in mind that in addition to helping us combat stress and helping our cells to handle the sugar circulating in our blood better, exercise also makes us feel good afterwards. Therefore, we have to conclude that there are excellent reasons for having a positive attitude towards diabetes.

..and diet
The same principle applies to diet. For years, people diagnosed with diabetes were put on what was known as a diabetic diet or a diet for diabetics, which was a good way to make patients and their families pretty miserable. Fortunately, several studies showed not only how ineffective these diets were for controlling the disease, but also how the imbalance among their components represented a serious risk factor that could lead diabetics to suffer from other problems that worsen their situation, their quality of life, and their prognosis.

Nowadays we know that diabetics can eat the same things as any healthy person who is interested in taking care of his/her health. In other words, they can eat anything as long as they don`t overindulge, and stick to the basic principles of any good diet: variety in the content of the meals, prudence in the selection of healthy cooking methods, and moderation in serving sizes. If diabetics eat this way, just like anyone who is interested in staying healthy, then there is no reason for not having a positive attitude towards diabetes.


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