Mrs Seema Bapat shares her journey of managing life with Type 1 Diabetes by receiving the right knowledge.
Name: Mrs Seema Bapat
Age: 72 years
The journey so far…
I am a retired nurse. I worked as a resident for one year and then moved to the U.S.A at the age of 25. I have always been weight conscious as I am not very tall. After moving to the U.S.A, I often ate deserts, cakes and chocolate syrup. Since I was a medical student, I used to check my fasting sugar levels but did not check my post prandial blood sugar levels. At the time of check-up for health insurance, my blood sugar levels were found to be 300 mg/dL. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 27.
I was prescribed insulin right from the beginning. For a brief period, I was put on oral medication but my blood sugar levels were still not under control. They would fluctuate throughout the day. I was asked by my doctor to check my blood sugar levels for a week or so to understand my blood sugar patterns. During the summer season, my blood sugar level would rise up to 300.
I had a tendency to feel hypoglycaemia at 1 a.m. I was put on a steady dose of insulin and was never prescribed more than 2 doses. I used to check my blood sugar levels thrice a day which I continue to do even today.
I have been using an insulin pump for a long time now. I was put on insulin pump very early because I had developed hypoglycaemia unawareness due to my strict blood sugar control. With insulin pump, I have never had an episode of hypoglycaemia. I seek regular consultation to manage my insulin dosage through the pump according to my diet and lifestyle. My fasting blood sugar levels are now in control.
I was recommended to measure my food before eating. I used to weigh my food before packing my lunch. This helped me manage my portion size. I was associated with a Diabetes support group for children in the U.S.A. While educating kids, I learned to keep candies at hand to prevent episodes of hypoglycaemia. Since I was more prone to night time hypoglycaemia, eating candies during such episodes helped me avoid serious consequences.
I follow a vegetarian diet and my diet consists of lots of vegetables. I take a normal diet in moderation with calories. I know my proportion and fill my plate accordingly. I do not over eat and I keep a track of any extra food or sweet that I consume. If I eat any high calorie food I avoid eating anything more to maintain my calorie intake.
My friends and family
Since I was receiving good consultation right from the beginning, my diagnosis of Diabetes didn't come as a setback for my whole family. Initially my husband and I were a little worried but my doctor helped me understand how to manage my Diabetes. He would always suggest checking blood sugar levels before eating anything and this had worked as a great instrument in managing my food intake and cravings. My father had Type 2 Diabetes and he managed his diet, exercise and medication well. This had inspired me a lot to care well in Diabetes. Also my friends and my support group have always encouraged me to discuss about my Diabetes.
My fitness regime
My diagnosis of Diabetes has restricted my running as I have developed knee problems. But I used to walk on the treadmill for at least an hour every day and due to my profession I used to walk a lot during my shifts. My favourite exercise is water aerobics. It is easy to do and also helps in maintaining flexibility and managing my weight. I try to remain active through my daily chores.
Word of advice
Prepare a brief note of your medical history and a list of your current prescription. Find the best doctor you can and have the attitude of learning. Listen to the doctors and understand Diabetes. Consult a Diabetes educator regarding any medication and its effect on Diabetes. Discuss with your family about your Diabetes care regime and share the details of your condition with them. Keep glucose tablets handy to overcome hypoglycaemia.
Check your blood sugar levels regularly. Never give up, work to figure out what is good for you in Diabetes. Learn from your mistakes and find the right way to control Diabetes.