Diabetes: How to control blood sugar levels when you have cancer
- Chemotherapy during cancer treatment can play havoc with your blood sugar levels and can cause several complications. Here's how to manage diabetes when suffering from cancer.
Managing diabetes and avoiding its various complications in itself is an arduous job. Getting diagnosed with cancer can multiply these complications and pose a greater mortality risk in diabetes patients.
It is important to manage diabetes during and after cancer treatment.
"One may be more focused on managing a cancer diagnosis, but diabetes care is very critical to health and can affect the success of a treatment plan. During treatment, the focus should be on cancer treatment while keeping the blood sugar levels in check. Thus, it is important to manage diabetes as well to ensure your body can tolerate and benefit from chemotherapy, radiation, or other modalities," says Dr Jitendra Pahlajani, Medical Oncology, HCG Cancer Centre Jaipur.
How cancer treatment can raise your blood glucose levels and complicate things
Chemotherapy therapy is known to cause hyperglycemia, an increase in blood sugar levels which may lead to dehydration and strain organs and immune system.
"Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can have a negative impact on other organs. Monitoring blood sugar levels can help keep them healthy during cancer treatment. The euglycemia or normal concentration of glucose in the blood is achieved by diet and anti-diabetic drugs is associated with better outcomes," adds Dr Pahlajani.
Tips for cancer patients with diabetes
A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help control your sugar levels in case of diabetes or pre-diabetes.
"Try to understand requirements of diet and lifestyle modifications and how it may impact your cancer treatment. This will help to take better care of yourself and reduce diabetes complications. Maintain a healthy diet. Consume a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Limit the intake of red meat and processed foods you eat. Watch out for your portion sizes," advises the expert.
Here are other tips
● Exercise regularly and stay fit. Aim for moderate physical activity or vigorous exercise every day.
● For cancer prevention, limit your alcohol intake. It is high in calories and sugar. Research shows that heavy drinking can damage cells and lead to cancer.
● Monitor your blood sugar. Managing blood sugars within the target range may help in preventing infection, nausea, fatigue, and other challenges.
● Managing stress is very important. Dealing with cancer can be stressful and its treatments can cause your body to release various hormones that increase blood sugar. This can weaken the immune system. Stress management strategies can help one feel more relaxed and less anxious.
● Make healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to staying on track with plans for managing sugar, eating healthy, and reducing stress, as you are undergoing cancer treatment, is important. Avoid smoking and using recreational drugs. This will help in keeping blood sugars under control and enables your body to heal during cancer treatment.