The first step to proper diabetes management is being aware of your condition. A diabetes diagnosis is a life-changing event, and knowing what can make your blood sugar levels rise and fall will help you learn to better control your disease.
It’s important to learn how your lifestyle can affect your diabetes management. Your diet is a major part of managing your symptoms, but there are many other choices you make that can affect how you’re managing your diabetes.
Lifestyle Choices and Diabetes Management
Talking with your doctor is key to coming up with a plan for managing your diabetes so you can lead as normal a life as possible- and it is possible! Here are a few other factors to keep in mind that can affect your diabetes management plan:
- Food choices. Your diet plays one of the most important roles in managing your diabetes. Healthy eating is important for everyone, though, with or without diabetes! Learn the types of foods that affect your blood sugar levels; it’s not only the types of food you eat, but also how much and the combinations of foods you’re consuming on a daily basis. Carbohydrates will have the biggest impact on your blood sugar, so it’s crucial to know how many carbs your meals have. Meals should be well-balanced overall and feature a good combination of protein, starches, fats, vegetables and fruits.
- Level of physical activity. Too often, we tend to live more sedentary lifestyles which can lead to obesity. Incorporating an exercise program into your daily routine can not only help you lose weight, but it can also help your body use insulin better so it can convert glucose into energy for cells. Find an exercise you enjoy doing and start off slowly- even just walking for 15 minutes per day will help. You can increase the amount of physical activity you get as you get more comfortable with it. Set a schedule to keep you on track, so you’re putting aside time to get exercise every day until it becomes routine.
- If you’re on medications to help control your insulin and blood sugar levels, learn about what kinds of over-the-counter medications might affect your diabetes management. You should also know what time of day to take your medications and report any issues to your doctor, like if your blood sugar is consistently too high or too low.
- Stress levels. Stress can alter blood sugar levels in a couple ways. People who are under a lot of stress may not take care of themselves as well as they should, skipping meals or exercise often. Also, stress hormones can directly alter blood sugar levels. To help manage the stress in your life, you can join a diabetes support group to help you cope and feel less alone. This can alleviate the stress and depression affecting your diabetes.
- Eye, skin, foot and dental care. Because diabetes affects the tiniest blood vessels in your body, which tend to be in your eyes and nerves, early detection and treatment of any issues is key. Diabetes can cause people to lose their eyesight, gum problems, dry skin and nerve damage which can make you unable to notice pain in your feet. Maintain regular doctor appointments twice a year to make sure you are properly managing your blood glucose levels.
Diabetes is a manageable condition, and it’s still entirely possible to live your life to the fullest. Avoid complications by making the correct lifestyle choices for proper diabetes management.