Digestive complications are common in diabetics. The common digestive problems in diabetics include constipation, diarrhea and delayed emptying of the stomach or gastroparesis. Almost 60 percent diabetics suffer from constipation. Slow movement of food through the digestive tract hardens the stool in diabetics.
Diabetics may also experience diarrhea, especially at night. It occurs when the contents in the digestive tract move too fast. Gastroparesis is a serious gastrointestinal complication of diabetes that develops when the vagus nerve that control movement of content through the stomach and intestines are damaged by diabetes. The risk of developing gastroparesis is especially higher in people who cannot keep their blood sugar level under control. Diabetes-related digestive problems can be prevented by strict blood sugar management and dietary intervention.
Tips for Preventing Digestive Complications In Diabetes
Consume High Fiber Diet
A high fiber diet reduces the blood sugar level and prevents digestive problems. Whole grains, vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, and fruits are sources of fibers in the diet. By slowing down the speed of digestion, fibers prevent abnormal increase in the blood sugar level after meals. Fibers are indigestible.
They add bulk to stool, thereby easing bowel movement and preventing constipation. By binding with fats in the food, fibers help to eliminate fats from the body. Excess fats obstruct insulin activity,increasing the risk of developing insulin resistance diabetes. Diabetics should try to consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day.
Count Carbohydrates In the Diet
Carbohydrates are the main fuel source of the body. Total amount of carbohydrates consumed daily,type of carbohydrate consumed and distribution of carbohydrates in meals help to determine the blood sugar level of diabetics. The amount of carbohydrate a diabetic person should consume dailydepends upon the activity level and diabetes medications. A diabetic person can consume about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal.
Abnormal fluctuations in the blood sugar level can be prevented by consuming several small meals throughout the day. The main sources of carbohydrates in a diet are fruits, starchy vegetables, grains, milk and dairy. Carbohydrate foods in the diet should be combined with adequate amount of healthy proteins and fats to create a balanced meal.
Take Supplements that Prevent Nerve Damage
Gastroparesis can be prevented by avoiding nerve damage. Vitamins B6 and B12 supplements are recommended for maintaining the normal functioning of the vagus nerve.
Regular Physical Activity
Remaining active for most part of the day keeps blood sugar level under control and reduces the risk of developing digestive problems related to diabetes. The ideal workout schedule of a diabetic comprises of about 5 to 10 minutes of stretching or flexibility exercises followed by about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, and strength training two to three times each week. All types of physical activities that help to burn calorie such as housecleaning, gardening, climbing stairs and walking are beneficial for diabetics.
Take Medications As Directed
If medications are part of your diabetes management routine, take the drugs according to the direction of your physicians. Moreover, regular blood tests are required to determine the optimal dosage of the medications.