Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Diabetes Under Control

The key to a healthier and happier life with diabetes is balance – eating right, getting enough exercise, taking your medications, and keeping your blood sugar under control.

Effective management of diabetes can prevent or greatly reduce the risk of serious health problems like eye and kidney disease, heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, amputations, and more. Thus it is very important to know that you can live well by choosing the right diabetes care plan.

To help you achieve that balance, here are five tips to take control of your diabetes.

Keep a Blood Sugar Journal

Keeping a daily record of your blood sugar is the best way to monitor how food, activity, and medication affect your glucose levels. 

Use a notebook to record your readings, along with the date and time of day, carbohydrate intake from food and beverages, physical activity, insulin or oral medication taken, and other factors that can affect your blood sugar. 

Do not disregard minor fluctuations. Some people with diabetes experience swings in blood sugar levels that range from slightly high to slightly low, and these changes can affect your glucose levels for up to two days.

By recording the factors that affect your blood sugar, you can make adjustments and keep it within a safe range.

Be Physically Active

Regular physical activity can help you achieve better blood sugar control, lower your risk for heart disease and stroke, reduce blood pressure, promote weight loss and most importantly help reduce diabetes

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, like walking or other activities that raise your heart rate and make you breathe harder on most days. If you would like to push the bar you can try out a few spin classes, MMA classes or any other form of sports.

If you cannot do 30 minutes at one time, try doing 10-minute periods of physical activity throughout the day.

You can increase the intensity of activity by adding some resistance training (weights or exercise bands), working with physical therapy equipment, or even completing household chores.

While there is no specific level of physical activity that can guarantee improved blood sugar, studies show that moderate physical activity, like walking 30 minutes every day, can help you achieve better blood sugar control. 

Moderate physical activity is also associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy meal plan can help you achieve better blood sugar control and reduce your risk for heart disease. The type of carbohydrate food you choose is important to control blood sugar. Carbohydrate foods come in 2 types.

Simple carbohydrates, like candy or soda, are absorbed quickly by the body. Complex carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, are absorbed more slowly by the body.

Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, like fruit juices or pastries, can cause blood sugar levels to spike. This is because these foods are converted into glucose very quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. 

Sometimes despite being committed to healthy-eating habits, it’s essential to pick your carbs carefully. You might also need to eat fewer of certain types of carbohydrates. This most of the time helps reverse prediabetes.

Also, be aware of portion size – especially when you eat foods that are high in carbohydrates. 

A healthy eating plan should include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein sources, and low-fat dairy foods. Foods and beverages high in saturated and trans fats should be limited.

A registered dietitian can help you develop a healthy eating plan that is right for you to fight diabetes with healthy food. A nutritionist can also help, but be careful when seeking advice about food and beverages online or in magazines, as it may not be reliable or accurate.

Also during the summers diabetics can get dehydrated really quickly, in comparison to normal people. So ensure you beat the heat the diabetic way, by staying hydrated, eating healthy snacks, and wearing sunscreen.

Take Your Medications as Prescribed

You should always take your diabetes medication as directed by your doctor, especially if you have type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance, even if you feel better. 

According to the ADA, you should not change your medication dose unless instructed to do so by your doctor. 

If you stop taking medication, it may lead to serious health consequences due to uncontrolled blood sugar.

Some people with diabetes have a difficult time controlling their blood sugar levels because they do not take their medication as directed to help control their glucose levels.

If you do not take your medication as directed or if you stop taking your medication, blood sugar can become very high (hyperglycemia). In the long term, this can damage nerves and blood vessels, which could lead to heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, diabetic foot ulcers, and other complications.

Keep your Appointments with your Doctor

It is very important to keep all of your appointments with your doctor. Your diabetes care team can help you manage your diabetes and achieve better blood sugar control.

If you have questions, always ask your doctor or diabetes care team for advice, because there is nothing better than diabetes awareness to help fight this disease.  

If you do not have a diabetes care team or if you are having trouble controlling your blood sugar levels, ask your doctor for a referral to a diabetes care team or a diabetes educator.

You should also see your doctor right away if you have trouble controlling your blood sugar levels, have symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), or feel sick and need to take medicine.

You should also see your doctor if you have signs and symptoms of diabetes complications, such as frequent urination, extreme thirst, increased hunger, unexplained weight loss. 

You should also see your doctor if you have a family history of diabetes or you are overweight.

Regular checkups with your doctor can help detect complications at an early stage.

Always talk to your doctor before making any changes in your diabetes management plan.

Conclusion

People with diabetes face many challenges, but if they work with their health care team and follow their plan, they can reduce the risks associated with this disease. 

By learning about diabetes and making healthy choices that include a balanced diet and regular exercise, people with diabetes can reduce their risk for heart disease and other complications.

Remember, diabetes can’t be cured. You will probably have to live with it for the rest of your life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a full life. You can accomplish this with your doctor’s help and your own good choices.

I hope that this article helps you understanding diabetes and how to manage it. I hope this clarifies any concerns or queries about diabetes you may have.

If you or someone close to you has diabetes, please share this article, so other people know how to manage their diabetes.