Type 1 diabetes typically develops in childhood though there are cases where adults develop this disease. You can't prevent type 1 diabetes but you can lead a healthy life and minimize your chances of developing the myriad complications that are associated with diabetes. Bodybuilding can help you do this.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes develops when your pancreas produces very little or no insulin in response to increases in blood sugar after eating. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that helps carry sugar from your bloodstream to your body's cells for use as energy.
With type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As blood sugar builds up with no place to go, supplemental insulin is necessary to carry this sugar to your body's cells.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
All of these symptoms result from high blood sugar and/or a lack of energy from cells deprived of sugar.
There are a few short-term complications and several long-term complications that may arise in someone with type 1 diabetes.
Short Term Complications
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) - symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
Diabetic ketoacidosis (high ketones in your urine) - when our body cells don't get enough energy from glucose, our body may break down fat yielding toxic acid byproducts known as ketones. Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- A sweet, fruity smell on your breath
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) - Signs and symptoms include:
Later signs and symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
Long Term Complications
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage
- Foot damage (from nerve damage and poor blood flow)
- Skin and mouth conditions - bacterial infections, fungal infections and itching
Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes is all about managing your blood sugar levels within normal limits by regulating your
- doses to match your
- intake. The better you regulate your blood sugar and stay healthy, the less likely you are to suffer from any of the complications associated with this disease.
The top two recommendations for managing your blood sugar (aside from properly dosing your insulin) are:
- Exercise potentiates the action of insulin helping move sugar from your blood into your cells. This is a great thing for diabetics and it may decrease the amount of insulin you need. As a bodybuilder, you have this covered and engage in strength training and aerobic exercise to tone your body and improve your health. Luckily, this will also help you manage your Type 1 diabetes.
Eat A Good Diet
- Type 1 diabetics should steer clear of refined
- (the kind that make your blood sugar soar) and opt for whole grains (
- ), which will help stabilize your blood sugar.
Diabetics should also avoid partially hydrogenated oils (artificial sources of trans fats) and minimize their intake of saturated fat to help them prevent heart disease. Additionally, diabetics should include lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy and healthy fats (omega 3s for instance) which will help round out a healthy diet, help you minimize your risk of heart disease and also keep blood sugar levels in check.
As a bodybuilder you are accustomed to monitoring your food intake to achieve your desired physique and good health. You also crave knowledge about nutrition and food and how what you put into your body affects it. This knowledge combined with your body awareness, will help you manage your blood sugar within a very tight range.
Additional Tips To Help You Manage Type 1 Diabetes
Schedule Physical Exams
- Schedule yearly physical exams and regular eye exams (let your optometrist know that you have diabetes so he/she can check you for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma).
Medical Alert Bracelet
- Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet to let people know you have diabetes.
- Keep all immunizations current. Chronic high blood sugar can weaken your immune system. Therefore, keep yourself healthy, get your immunizations and consider getting a yearly flu shot.
Mind Your Feet
- Pay attention to your feet - wash them daily with lukewarm water, dry them gently and moisturize as needed. Talk to your physician if you have a sore or foot problem that isn't healing.
Mind Your Teeth
- Take care of your teeth - brush twice a day, floss once a day and see your dentist at least twice a year. Talk to your dentist right away if your gums are swollen or bleeding.
- Don't use any form of
- (which will only increase your risk of developing certain diabetes complications)
- Closely monitor your
- consumption - alcohol can cause high or low blood sugar.
- Monitor your
- and incorporate stress reduction techniques when necessary.
Bodybuilding is great for managing Type 1 diabetes. Exercise will help use blood sugar and increase the action of insulin so you require less insulin.
In addition, bodybuilding teaches you how to fuel your body for maximum health. By eating a bodybuilding diet and taking proper supplements you will also help regulate your blood sugar within normal limits. And doing this will minimize any potential complications from diabetes and help you live a healthy life.