Managing diabetes can be an arduous task, but a few tips can come in handy.
Take Your Medication as Directed
Be sure to take your medications or insulin as directed by your doctor. Untreated diabetes carries high risks of complications such as nerve damage and heart disease. Diabetes symptoms may not be very conspicuous, so it may be a bit difficult to notice an immediate repercussion when you fail to take your prescribed medication. So if you keep forgetting to take your medication, set a daily alarm or put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. There are also some great smartphone apps that can help you to take your medication.
Monitor Your Blood Glucose Levels
Monitoring your blood sugar level is the only way to know if you’re effectively managing your condition. Medications, activity levels, food, illness, medications and even stress can affect blood glucose. Unless you check, you may never know when your levels are fine or spiraling out of control. Ask your physician how often you need to check and what measures you should take when readings are abnormal.
Record What You Eat
As you learn to gain control over your blood sugar and weight, you should consider keeping a log that includes precise information about your eating habits. What you eat has the biggest impact on your weight and controlling diabetes. A diabetic diet need not be complicated. There’s no need for special foods as your nutritional needs are more or less similar to everyone else’s. The trick is to pay attention to your food choices, most importantly the carbohydrates you eat and learn how to spot hidden sugars.
It may seem a bit complicated at first, but with time, you can easily jot down what you’re eating, what time it is, how hungry you feel before eating, the foods and amounts eaten and any other relevant details. Having proper records will make it easy for you to see patterns. By identifying situations in which you are more likely to make poor food choices, you can learn to make necessary adjustments.
In addition to medical management and weight control, exercise is one of the most critical things you can do to manage your diabetes. Routine exercise promotes loss of excess weight and decreases body fat. Exercising sufficiently has also been shown to improve blood sugar control and your body’s response to insulin. You don’t necessarily have to enroll in a gym but as little as 30 minutes of activity, five days a week can work wonders. Consistency is key; the main idea is to find an activity you enjoy and stick with it, whether it’s walking, jogging, running or swimming. Studies show that all levels of activity are beneficial to your health, from moderate walking to high-intensity weight training.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes, and once you have diabetes, smoking only worsens complications and problems associated with diabetes. Smoking constricts blood vessels, causes inflammation and raises blood-glucose levels. Smokers have an increased risk of nerve damage, kidney disease, foot and leg infections as well as blood vessel damage.
Have A Supportive Team
Diabetes is a complex disease that often requires the expertise of several medical professionals to ensure you’re maintaining overall health. Ideally, your team should include your general physician, an endocrinologist, an ophthalmologist, a podiatrist, a dietitian and a dentist. Make sure you’re comfortable with the medical team helping you to manage your condition. A solid support system can also help you to maintain a positive outlook on managing diabetes. Consider involving your friends and family by sharing your challenges and struggles and or join a support group where you can connect with others facing similar challenges.