Type 2 Diabetes can be managed easily by making a few lifestyle changes. Before you make these changes, however, it is important to understand what causes the condition.
What causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Insulin, produced by the pancreas, regulates the blood sugar levels in the body. In Type 2 Diabetes, the insulin produced is not used by the cells the way it should, leading to a rise in the level of glucose in the blood. This condition is known as insulin resistance.
In the initial period, the pancreas tries to compensate by producing extra insulin. However, it is unable to sustain this production over a long period, leading to Diabetes.
Managing Type 2 Diabetes:
The following steps will help you manage your condition effectively if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes:
Choose your meal wisely: The most important step of diabetes management is to select what, when and how much to eat. Fortunately, modern meal plans for diabetics have enough flexibility to suit a wide profile of individuals. Consider reading nutritional information about the food you eat, so you know exactly what goes into your meal. One important guideline is to choose foods which are low on the glycemic index.
Some healthy eating choices for diabetics are as follows:
- Eating every meal of the day.
- Maintaining proper gaps between meals.
- Eating a variety of food items.
- Avoiding overeating.
- Including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats etc in your diet.
- Become active: Research indicates that low physical activity reduces the body’s ability to manage glucose. Physical activity is helpful in lowering blood glucose and is an essential part of managing diabetes to lead a healthy life.
There are a host of added benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle. These include stress relief, having higher energy, reduction in risk of stroke and heart-related ailments and giving flexibility to joints. These activities are walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, and strength training. Make small changes like taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking small distances instead of using a vehicle.
- Lose weight: If you are overweight, your doctor may suggest weight loss to help manage cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Studies indicate that the distribution of fat in the body has an implication on diabetes management. People who have more belly fat are more prone to type 2 diabetes than those who have fat accumulated on the hips and thighs. Speak to a dietitian for professional advice.
- Lower stress levels: Stress is responsible for elevating your blood pressure and blood glucose levels, not to mention enhancing the chances of heart disease. Practice breathing exercises, join a yoga class, or simply put your shoes on and go for a jog/walk. If you have been a smoker all your life, this is the right time to quit. Smoking affects the lungs in a major way and narrows your blood vessels.
- Medicines: Take the medicines prescribed by your doctor as this will help in keeping your blood sugar levels under control. Insulin shots may also be necessary if your doctor recommends so. Do not stop taking prescribed medicines unless your doctor recommends that you do so. At the same time, inform the doctor immediately if you are having any side-effects of the medicines.
Remember, medicines will show their effect if you are ready to make those necessary lifestyle changes simultaneously. If you choose a healthy lifestyle over a sedentary one and eat healthy instead of “tasty”, managing your Type 2 Diabetes will be much easier.