Diabetes is among the most prevalent diseases that plague contemporary society. Statistics show that about 9.4% of U.S. residents suffer from diabetes and, more alarmingly, 23.8% of the people who have diabetes go undiagnosed.
There is no cure for diabetes. But with the right medication and certain lifestyle changes, you can stay healthy despite the disease.
1. Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is a major cornerstone of diabetes management and that means more than just choosing healthy foods. You need to know which food combinations work well for your health, and it’s crucial to limit your portions.
For example, your body turns carbohydrates into sugar, so you have to be extra careful about your carb intake. This goes double for people who take mealtime insulin.
As a rule, each meal needs to be well-balanced. This means that your plate should contain a good mix of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean meat.
2. Minimize Stress
When exposed to prolonged stress, your body produces hormones which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Managing stress might be easier said than done, but there are a few things you can do to keep it under control.
Scale your stress level from 1 to 10 when measuring your blood sugar levels, and log the data together. This helps you determine the stress pattern that can be associated with high blood sugar levels. With this in mind, you can use relaxation techniques when you’re experiencing blood sugar level fluctuations.
If need be, consult with a psychologist to pinpoint the stressors and identify the best ways to cope. Breathing exercises and meditation are helpful to many diabetics.
Regular exercise allows for more efficient insulin and sugar use. And the harder you work out, the better the effects. Light physical activities like long walks, gardening, or housework can also keep blood sugar levels in check.
It’s advisable to consult with your physician about the workout routine that fits your condition. A general recommendation is to take at least half an hour of moderate to intensive exercise at least 5 times a week.
Your doctor should also help you determine the workout schedule that fits your medication and meal routine.
4. Tobacco and Alcohol
Tobacco use is especially dangerous for people with diabetes. It is known to worsen the symptoms of the disease and can significantly heighten the chances of eye and blood vessel disease.
On the other hand, moderate alcohol consumption can actually lower your blood sugar levels, if you don’t have other health problems going on. In general, one drink a day should be fine for women and men can get away with two drinks a day. One drink means 5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of spirits, or 12 oz of beer.
5. Oral Hygiene
Diabetic patients are more prone to gum disease because germs feed on excess sugar from saliva. Gum disease can cause chronic oral inflammation, which might spread to other parts of your body. This makes it harder to keep blood sugar levels under control, so regular flossing and brushing is a must.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Diabetes is a disease that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If left untreated, it can do irreversible damage to your health. But with the right habits and treatment, you can limit these detrimental effects.
The secret lies in the correct balance of foods, exercise, and medication.