Living With Diabetes
If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing you should do is sit down, take a breath and relax! Getting a diagnosis like that can be a shock to the system, even if you have been experiencing many of the classic symptoms for longer than you might like to admit.
The first thing to remember after the shock is that diabetes, both types in fact, are very manageable with the right kind of diabetes treatment plan. Even though diabetes is not curable (at this time) it is totally manageable. If you can attach yourself to a good health care team, then there is very little reason why you can’t live a normal life and enjoy most of the normal things that everybody else enjoys.
Take time to understand your condition. Listen to your doctor who will explain the relevance of insulin and blood sugar levels for Type I Diabetes and the reasons why you have developed Type 2 Diabetes. Your doctor will also talk to you about a treatment plan including any medications you might require and any lifestyle changes you will be encouraged to make.
Of course, diabetes care is all about making sure that you maintain good blood sugar levels, insulin levels and good blood pressure, keeping a healthy weight for type 2 sufferers and overall attempting to prevent things like heart disease, nerve damage and other complications of the disease by managing the risks.
Getting all of this information in one go can be overwhelming at the start of a diabetes diagnosis, but we promise that once you have a diabetes treatment plan in place, you will have the support that you need in order to succeed and keep your blood sugar at the desired levels. Physical health and mental health both play a part.
Here are some of the best health tips for diabetes management, as recommended and approved by the American Diabetes Association.
Commit To Healthy Eating
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, then this means that the problems with your blood sugar, blood glucose and blood vessels are predominantly to do with poor diet and health choices that you have made in your lifestyle. People who are overweight/obese and maintain poor diets are extremely likely to develop diabetes as they age, but the negative impact on your blood sugar level can be reversed if you make a commitment to start eating healthier.
Patients who are newly diagnosed with diabetes and are starting out at an obese level will need to begin with a classic calorie deficit intake to lose weight. Along with eating less food, you also need to focus on eating foods that are more nutritionally beneficial than what you have been eating to get to your elevated size.
Getting a healthy body when you have diabetes is not just checking food ingredient labels for sugar, glucose or the many industrial sugar equivalents used by the food industry. A good balanced, nutritious and healthy diet of the right food is needed.
Lots of leafy green vegetables are important, as are fruits that don’t contain too high amounts of natural sugar.
Lots of proteins like beans, nuts, pulses, fish, eggs and lean meats/poultry will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, and good carbohydrates like brown rice, brown bread and whole grains pasta should be the basis of most of the meals in general for anyone with diabetes. Diabetes patients should absolutely avoid processed foods as they contain too much fat, salt and sugar and especially avoid white carbohydrates – white rice white bread, white pasta etc.
Obviously, with diabetes being primarily a problem with the way in which your body handles glucose and sugar, you need to stay away from foods that are too high in that particular department. Unfortunately, this generally means avoiding all the favorite things we love to eat like chocolate, candy and junk foods.
It can be really productive if you sit down at the start of every week and write out a diabetes meal plan to follow. This ensures that you always know what you will eat on any given day. You can easier manage your blood sugar if you preplan your meals. A menu will also keep you on track not to eat too much or to have more than one drink of alcohol per night. Whenever you can drink water over anything else! You need to keep pressure off your kidneys by taking in a good quantity of fluids every day and good old fashioned water is best.
A balanced, nutritional diet will also help you to have the energy you need for the next health tip.
Keep To A Regular Exercise Routine
Alongside a healthy diet, any good health care team are also going to suggest regular physical activity to make your body even healthier. Living a sedentary lifestyle (a lifestyle in which you partake in no physical activity at all) is not recommended when you have diabetes.
One of the best ways of managing diabetes along with all of the relevant diabetes medications is good exercise. Anything that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping is good, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be really intensive.
Someone with diabetes who is only just starting out on an exercise regime can do things like walking, swimming and yoga. Any type of exercise that is low on the ‘impact’ scale can still be effective when it comes to diabetes management.
The healthier you can be thanks to regular physical activity, the less likely you are to suffer from further health complications outside of your diabetes. Being fit and healthy in all other areas means that you are able to focus on particular disease control and diabetes care, and this is valid no matter what type of diabetes you have from type 1 to type 2 to gestational diabetes. Of course, gestational diabetes disappears after you have given birth, but you still need to take care of your blood sugar and follow the advice of your health care professional while you have it.
There is absolutely no doubt that smoking is one of the worst habits you can have when you are a sufferer of diabetes. People who smoke are actually 40 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who don’t, and for those who have already been diagnosed, it has been proven that smoking makes it very hard for your body to manage your diabetes.
Smoking can have a very negative impact on how well your body is able to regulate your insulin levels, as nicotine has been proven to lessen the effectiveness of insulin. What this means is that smokers need even more insulin to help regulate their blood sugar levels, and when you are already battling diabetes, this becomes a near-impossible task!
One of the best things you can do to keep your blood sugar at an acceptable level and not allow the harmful chemicals in nicotine to interfere with your medications is to give up cigarettes. Not to mention, outside of diabetes management, smoking is one of the leading causes of so many other health problems that at this point in the 21st century, giving up is one of the best forms of disease prevention that you can do.
Try To Avoid Unnecessary Stress
Alongside all of the medical care that you will receive for things like low blood sugar and varied blood pressure, another way that you can help to keep your diabetes under control is by eliminating all threats of unnecessary stress in your life.
The more stress a person has to deal with, the higher their blood pressure, in general, is going to be, and high blood pressure is not something that you want to have to deal with when you are also trying to control your blood sugar levels.
Things like deep breathing and mindfulness can be very helpful when trying to manage stress, and these more holistic inclusions in your treatment plan can be just as beneficial as medicines to a certain extent.
There are many resources to help you manage stress, diabetes or not. As well as an encyclopedia of tips on the internet, your doctor or health professional may point you to local support groups.
Living with diabetes is definitely something that takes extra care and attention, but with the right diabetes care team in place, there is no reason that you can’t be a healthy and important member in your own life!
Help your blood sugar, insulin production and manage your diabetes through common sense life changes like a better diet with more fiber, more whole grains and less processed sugar. Start an exercise regime that will help you to keep your overall body healthy and a good weight for diabetes prevention. Give up bad habits like smoking and drinking too much alcohol, and try to eliminate as much undue stress as possible.
Type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes are the three main types of diabetes that you will come across, and though they have the potential to affect men and women in different ways, you can still treat them with the solid tips that have been listed above.
The more education you can have on how to control your blood sugar levels, what food to eat, what exercise to do, what other complications to treat, what resources to find and what to consult on with your doctor, the more successfully you will be able to fight your diabetes with your health care team.