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Diabetes Care Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

29 Feb 2024

Consider your body as a garden. A garden requires hydration, sunlight and proper maintenance to thrive and grow a healthy plantation. In the same way, a diabetic body has its own needs to thrive as a healthy body such as regular monitoring, medicine and lifestyle habits which keep your sugar in check.

When you don’t ensure diabetes care, complications start showing up in your body just like the plants start withering in a poorly managed garden.

How one does it, is with a commitment-centric but simple set of steps. Let’s dig in.

1. Look after your diet

Diabetes care begins with what you consume and in what quantities. These are two factors that define whether or not your diet is well-balanced. Although your healthcare provider can offer a personalised chart for diabetes-friendly nutrition, here are some tips to start with

  • Count your carbs

Your body breaks down carbs into sugar, which is why carbs have a strong impact on your glucose levels. Adopt healthy carbs (like grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and fruits) and avoid sugary and refined food options (like beverages, bread, dessert, and processed food items).

  • Check your portions

Balance your meals by combining carbs with lean proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables. Whenever snacking, do it thoughtfully. Snacks that are a combination of carbs with protein or fibre will balance your energy levels as well.

2. Exercise and get your body moving

Exercising is another crucial aspect of diabetes management that you shouldn’t skip. Exercising brings a lot of difference in your body, the primary one being that your muscles get to use the sugar for energy. It also helps improve your body’s insulin sensitivity. Put together, they ensure your blood glucose levels are maintained.

Remember, the more rigorous the session, the longer the effects last. But this doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym. Light activities like using the stairs instead of the lift, gardening, housework etc. also do the job. Aim for 30 mins of exercise daily (totalling at least 150 mins per week).

Although a detailed chat with your doctor will give you a better understanding of the exercises that are best for you, for starters you can focus on:

  • Aerobic Exercise
    Biking, swimming, running, or brisk walking for 30 mins or more daily.
  • Resistance Exercise
    Yoga or weightlifting, 2 to 3 times a week is good enough.
  • Limited Inactivity
    Activities causing long durations of inactivity will further elevate your glucose levels. Take a break every 30 minutes – walk, stand, or engage in some light activity.

Exercising is one of the most effective ways to practice diabetes care because it ensures diabetes benefits like – helping lose weight, lowering blood sugar, and improving insulin sensitivity.

3. Maintain how much you weight

If you’re overweight or obese, losing a significant amount of weight can help reduce your sugar levels to a non-diabetic range. But for that, you need to stick to eating healthy, keeping your diet balanced, and exercising regularly. Try cutting down on calories as much as possible.

4. Don’t stress yourself out

Be mindful of stress as it can hinder your progress in ensuring proper diabetes care. You

might forget to exercise, eat right, or take your medicines. Although stress may not lead to

Type 2 diabetes, it can worsen it. When you’re under stress, your body releases

hormones that may increase your blood sugar levels. Moreover, following your diabetic

routine may feel like a task.

  • Try taking up relaxation techniques; set your tasks as per priorities. keep away from stress as much as you can.
  • Take professional help from a psychologist. They can help you identify stressors and help in coping with them.
  • Try calming activities like deep breathing, yoga, or other hobbies that relax you.

The more you understand the factors that affect your glucose levels, the easier it becomes to ensure diabetes care. Try getting as much sleep as possible and remember to stay positive. Don’t let things get to your head and they won’t get to your body.

 

5. Drink alcohol but don’t overdo it

Consuming alcohol puts your body at risk of sugar imbalance. If you’re on insulin or oral meds, a lot comes at stake. As you drink, your liver begins its work to remove the alcohol from your bloodstream instead of regulating your glucose levels.

When drunk or having low sugar, you may feel symptoms like sleepiness, confusion, dizziness etc. and you might end up confusing drinking symptoms with symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

  • Drink, but moderately. This means, one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men as recommended by The American Diabetes Association.
  • Accompany it with a meal or a snack.
  • Add up the calories from alcohol to your daily calorie count.

A good habit to inculcate is, to check your blood sugar before drinking so you can take steps

to ensure blood glucose levels.

 

6. Smoking is off the table

Each puff of a cigarette temporarily raises your blood sugar. Naturally, it poses a problem in maintaining your diabetes care. This further brings diabetes complications like kidney and nerve problems. Besides increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes, smoking brings diabetes complications like

  • Heart and kidney disease
  • Poor blood flow in the legs and feet, leading to infections, non-healing ulcers and possible amputation
  • Worse blood sugar control
  • Stroke
  • Eye disease that can lead to blindness
  • Nerve damage
  • Premature death

Get help. Have a chat with your doctor about ways to stop smoking.

7. Get yourself checked, regularly

As someone with diabetes, it’s crucial to regularly monitor what’s happening inside your body.

  • Ensure you get checked at least twice a year besides your physical and routine eye exams.
  • Learn your numbers. Cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1c (average blood sugar over 3 months).

Your healthcare provider will ask you about your nutrition and activities and later check if you have developed any diabetic complications like kidney damage, nerve damage, heart disease or other medical problems. They may also check your feet for problems like foot ulcers or nerve damage.

Above everything else, to ensure diabetes care means to commit yourself. Your body won’t heal on its own, it will need your constant care and attention.

Always keep your diabetic care team close; your primary care provider, diabetes specialist and dietician. They will help you with the basics and ensure diabetes care. After that, it’s up to you to manage it. Make healthy eating and exercising, a thing of daily and adhere to the instructions from your healthcare provider.

At the end of the day, only your commitment to a healthy lifestyle will make all the difference. Go, make yourself proud.