Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Insulin, a hormone, helps to maintain your blood sugar levels. In diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or cannot be appropriately utilized.
High glucose levels can lead to several health complications and may cause damage to organs and tissues in your body.
Complications related to diabetes may include:
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Heart complications
- Foot damage
- Skin conditions
- Neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Nephropathy (gradual loss of function of the kidneys)
If you feel you have diabetes watch out for the most common symptoms such as:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Extreme fatigue
- Weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Sores that heal slowly
When you have diabetes, taking medications (tablets, injections, or both) will help keep high blood sugar levels at bay. However, do not stop there because diabetes management is vital. Being diabetic, you are more likely to have other illnesses (heart disease, metabolic diseases, vascular disease). You need to incorporate lifestyle changes that will help reduce the worsening of diabetes and help you avoid serious health complications in the future. It is never too late to make these changes.
In this article, we will discuss the six most beneficial healthy steps that assist you in your diabetic care, which, in turn, will help you avoid complications in the future.
Overweight? Time to lose some
Obesity is one of the most common causes of diabetes and other serious health issues. Losing some weight will help you reduce the risk of diabetes and help in the prevention of other diseases. Research conducted demonstrated that almost 60% of the people reduced their risk of developing diabetes when they lost 7% of their body weight. The more weight you lose greater the rewards you reap. Weight reduction does not have to be extreme. You can reduce weight by following a healthy diet and exercising. Set your weight loss based on your current weight and begin with short-term goals and reasonable expectations. Always talk to your doctor and dietician, who can help you in the right direction.
Clean up your diet
Eating the right food matters significantly, especially when diabetic or obese. When you have diabetes, what you eat will affect your blood sugar levels. In addition to the type of food the combination of food, you eat matters.
Say yes to fiber-rich food
People with diabetes should increase their fiber content, which can help in reducing blood sugar levels over 12 weeks or less, according to the research. The recommended daily fiber intake should approximately be 21 – 38 grams
Cut down carbohydrates
The key to managing diabetes is understanding how carbohydrates impact blood sugar levels as carbohydrates are converted into sugar. Get plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your meal instead of junk food. Try to choose nonfat dairy and lean meat. Reduce consumption of sugary drinks
Taking meals and medication at the right time
While taking antidiabetic medications, you need to consume adequate food at the right time as too little food may result in low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may result in high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Talk to an expert to seek guidance about how to coordinate meals and medications.
Fitness is not a Destination; It is a way of Life
Diabetes is a lifestyle disease; a sedentary lifestyle is one of the significant factors that cause diabetes. Staying physically active is crucial for diabetes management. So why is staying active so important? When you exercise, your muscles use energy from sugars in the body. Regularly working out helps your body to utilize insulin in a better way. If you can not work out, light activities like walking, doing household chores, and gardening – can improve your blood sugar levels.
Ask your doctor about an exercise plan. If you have comorbidities, ask your doctor what type of exercise is suitable for you. Adults should try to be active or work out for 150 minutes a week (moderate aerobic activity). Keeping a schedule and following it will only help you. Keep routine in coordination with medications and meal schedules. Do not stay inactive for a long time. Try to do some activity every 30 minutes.
Follow up with your doctor
Diabetes can cause many serious health complications; hence, you should regularly follow up with your doctor. Monitor your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, and HbA1c levels. Moreover, diabetes may cause foot ulcers, nerve damage, and eyesight disorders. So, it is crucial to check them at least twice a year. Lastly, have a yearly check-up of kidney function and urine microalbumin tests. Share your doubts about preventing diabetes with your doctor. Your doctor will appreciate your efforts and may provide alternative ways.
Game of numbers: Don’t Lose
Check your blood sugar levels regularly. You can do this at home by using a glucometer. Try to check your blood sugar levels before and after meals, during and after exercise, especially if you take insulin or follow a new routine. Be sure of the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
Consume plenty of water or other healthy fluids. Primarily while you work out, dehydration can affect your blood glucose levels.
Take medications on a timely basis. Do not miss the doses frequently. Take medications as advised by your doctor. Do not take more than required or less than prescribed.
Check the number of minutes when you were active or working out. Keep a count of your calories per day.
Quit bad habits
Diabetes makes you more vulnerable to heart diseases, eye problems, kidney problems, stroke, nerve damage, vascular disease, and foot problems. If you smoke, it makes you more susceptible to these problems. Smoking also affects your lungs, may cause cancer, and makes working out harder. However, always take help from your doctor about ways to quit smoking.
Alcohol consumption also affects your blood sugar levels. Alcohol can worsen diabetes complications such as nerve damage and eye disease. Alcohol can make your blood sugar levels too high or too low. Monitor your blood sugar levels before you drink. Take necessary measures if your blood sugar levels are low. Some alcoholic beverages have high sugar concentrations, so consider them while drinking. If you like to add mixers to your drink, you should shift to diet tonic water, sugar-free mixer, diet soda, and seltzer; these mixers will not affect your blood sugar levels. Consult your doctor on how much drinking is permitted; occasional alcoholic drink is fine.
You can incorporate these beneficial, healthy steps into your daily routine, which will help you drastically to improve your blood sugar levels. Moreover, make sure you take your medications on time and do not miss your doses. Always consult your doctor when in doubt.
Apart from these steps, you can also take herbal supplements for diabetes or herbal medicines for diabetes and your routine medications. However, always consult your doctor before starting so. These herbal supplements or medicines cannot cure diabetes as a standalone treatment. When combined with regular treatment, these supplements and herbal medicines may help you to provide relief from symptoms and lower the risk of complications in a more significant way.