Managing diabetes boils down to being well informed, tracking your numbers, and being a little careful. Keeping it in check? Easier than you’d think. With a little self-control, of course.
What’s Your Body Dealing With?
“Diabetes” refers broadly to a cluster of diseases that interfere with your body’s ability to use glucose or blood sugar – the fuel your cells use to power everything from the brain to muscles. When you are diabetic, you tend to have higher than normal sugar levels. If uncontrolled, this can mess with your system and lead to many complications.
To understand this better, look at this illustration of how your body handles sugar.
This seamless process takes a hit when you have diabetes. The body of a type 1 diabetic produces little or no insulin. So the sugar, instead of entering cells, builds up in the blood. In prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:
- Cells become resistant to insulin’s effect.
- The pancreas can’t make enough insulin to beat this issue.
- As with type 1 diabetes, blood sugar doesn’t move to cells that need it for energy.
- Instead, the sugar builds up in the blood.
Did You Know? Some Kinds Of Diabetes Are Reversible
People with prediabetes, where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not in the diabetic range yet, can make lifestyle changes to help bring their sugar levels back to normal. Gestational diabetes during pregnancy also tends to go away after the baby arrives.
When you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, however, you’re going to have to learn to live with it. But the right lifestyle can help you gain better control over sugar levels even if you can’t get rid of the problem altogether.
Could Your Other Health Problems Be Diabetes Linked?
Symptoms of diabetes vary according to how elevated your sugar levels are. Look out for these and know they could be linked to diabetes:
The Stress-Free Way To Keep Your Sugar In Check
Being prediabetic or diabetic doesn’t have to mean monitoring your sugar 24/7. But it will take some attention. Work these into your routine and you’ll be in better control of your sugar.
1.Exercise for at least 150 minutes a week. That’s about 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day. A brisk walk, cycling, swimming, or even dancing can do the trick! Read tips on how to exercise safely when you are diabetic.
2. Create a healthy meal plan. A good “diabetes diet” is:
- Nutrient rich
- Low fat: think healthy fats from fatty fish, avocados etc.
- Low calorie
- Rich in fresh vegetables and fruits
- High in whole grains and free of refined carbs
- Fiber rich
3. Periodically test for important health indicators to see if your diabetes is in check. Get regular physical exams, eye check-ups, and check for kidney, heart, and nerve function to insulate yourself from complications.
4. Look after your mental and emotional health too! Get help from a counselor if you feel the condition is taking a mental or emotional toll on you. Diabetes can increase your risk of depression and can hamper your ability to manage the condition. Stress, too, can wreak havoc with your body – so do yourself a favor and learn some coping skills.
Remember These Diabetes Dos and Don’ts!
- Do get properly diagnosed by a medical professional first.
- Don’t self-medicate.
- Don’t try and cut dosage or switch medicines without consulting a doctor first.
- Do supplement treatment with the tips and lifestyle changes outlined above.
- Do make quitting smoking a priority. Here’s why.
- Do check with your doctor about alcohol intake.
- Do take your medication as per the prescribed schedule. Missing a dose or delaying it can cause sugar fluctuations which are bad for you.
I’m ready to tackle diabetes. Tell me more!