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A Positive Attitude Goes a Long Way

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -

One of the most important factors in the satisfactory evolution of any illness is the patient’s positive attitude. This has been confirmed, over and over, in people who suffer 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:

Possible and sensible

Diabetes is one of the few chronic diseases that a person can live with. If it is properly controlled, diabetics can live a normal lifestyle until passing away at a ripe old age from a completely different illness. For example, it is not unusual for someone diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 45, to die at the age of 95 from some other condition whose manifestation was completely unrelated to diabetes.
When treated properly, diabetes is a disease that does not produce symptoms or upsets of any kind. This is why diabetics not only need to eat properly and stay active, but also have a positive attitude towards the disease itself, in order to keep it under control.

With the help of exercise

As you can imagine, exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet without excess, and having a positive attitude represent the best combination of anti-stress measures. This is extremely important because stress is one of the factors that contributes most to raising blood sugar levels. Anti-stress measures produce a normalizing effect on glycemia, which triggers a beneficial cycle that significantly improves our quality of life during our allotted time here on earth.
In addition to being an excellent stress-buster, exercise plays a highly important role in fighting diabetes. By helping cells recover their capacity to use blood sugar more efficiently, exercising acts on one of the main mechanisms of the problem. Along with helping combat stress and helping our cells better handle the sugar circulating in our blood, exercise 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 sorts of ideas apply to diet. For years, people diagnosed with diabetes were put on what was known as a diet for diabetics or “diabetic diet.” This was a good way to make patients and their families pretty miserable. Fortunately, several studies showed that these diets were ineffective in controlling the disease. Furthermore, they had imbalances among their components, which represented a serious risk factor that could lead diabetics to suffer from other problems and worsen their situation, quality of life, and prognosis.
Today we know that diabetics can eat the same as any healthy person who is interested in taking care of his/her health. In other words, they can eat anything as long as it is not abused, and can stick to the basic principles of any good diet: a) variety in meal content, b) prudent selection of healthy cooking methods, and c) moderation in serving size. If diabetics eat 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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