Managing Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious medical condition that causes high blood sugar in the body.

These high levels of sugar often lead to dangerous health problems. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, numbness, eye and kidney issues. Keeping track of symptoms, making lifestyle changes and regularly consulting your health provider can reduce disease progression.

For those diagnosed with diabetes, many questions arise about how to combat the disease. Implementing healthy habits in your daily life is the most important factor in managing and preventing symptoms. By taking care of your body, you will have more energy, heal faster and counter sickness from arising. Diet and exercise play a huge role in handling this condition, along with remaining active in your health care. Follow these suggestions to start combatting diabetes symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Keep Track of Your Health

Understanding the condition and tracking your health over time is an important aspect of managing diabetes. The disease affects insulin levels, which converts blood sugar to energy in the body. For those with diabetes, decreased insulin production results in high blood sugar, often leading to dangerous health problems. High cholesterol and blood pressure also worsen symptoms, so these levels should be monitored often.

Testing your blood sugar regularly can help ensure these levels do not get too high. At home, a routine blood sugar test can be done once or twice daily. Additionally, your health care provider should periodically administer an A1C test. This exam reveals your sugar levels over the previous three months. Both exams are important measures of disease progression over time.

During regular doctor visits, you can also have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels monitored. Maintaining low blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help manage diabetes and prevent serious health issues from developing. Talk to your doctor to establish goals for your health and track the progress of these numbers.

Establish a Healthy Dieting Routine

Healthy eating habits can prevent and reduce diabetes symptoms. An unhealthy diet full of sugar and fat can worsen the condition and cause other health issues to develop. By eating balanced meals and reducing portion sizes, you can keep blood glucose levels low. Avoiding foods and drinks with high levels of sugar decreases your potential of having high glucose levels.

A healthy dieting routine involves regularly eating foods high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Vegetables, fruits, seeds, whole grains and legumes are examples of food items with high nutritional values. Your plate should include lean protein, grains and half non-starchy fruits and vegetables.

Eating a variety of different whole foods helps ensure you are getting complete and balanced nutrition. Certain foods are especially beneficial in providing nutrients that combat disease, including diabetes. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are low calorie and full of vitamins, iron and calcium. Beans are an affordable food that is a good source of magnesium, potassium and fiber. Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits provide significant amounts of potassium, fiber, folate and vitamin C.

Drinks can also have a huge effect on diabetes symptoms. Weight and blood glucose are closely linked to what you drink on a daily basis. Avoiding sugary drinks such as soda, energy drinks and sweet tea is essential in combating high blood sugar. While water is the most important beverage to consume, you can also include black or green tea, sparkling water and milk into your diet. Having one glass of milk per day, whether regular or non-dairy, supplements vitamin D and other important minerals.

Consumption of alcohol should be closely monitored for those dealing with diabetes. Drinking too much alcohol can affect blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours after ingestion. If you are going to drink alcohol, then check your glucose levels regularly. For women, one alcoholic drink can be enjoyed each day. Men should limit their alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day. Substance abuse and alcohol abuse can lead to health complications.

Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity is a helpful lifestyle change that makes diabetes easier to manage. Exercise makes the body more sensitive to insulin and better able to convert glucose to energy. Additional benefits of working out regularly are lower blood glucose, lower A1C levels, weight loss and higher levels of energy. Regular exercise for seniors with diabetes is particularly important.

In order to manage diabetes symptoms, insulin levels and carbohydrate intake must be adjusted with exercise. Eating regularly and not skipping meals is also necessary for safely implementing exercise into your lifestyle. Monitor your blood sugar levels before and after exercising to keep track of your progress. Never overexert yourself or go over your limit when working out. Taking short walks every day is a good way to make physical activity a habit. Yoga, gardening and weight training are great ways to increase muscle strength over time.

Combined with a healthy diet, routine exercise can result in weight loss. Losing weight is associated with lower levels of blood sugar and a reduction in other diabetes symptoms. Additionally, you will feel better physically and mentally as you continue working out regularly.

Implement Daily Self-Care Habits

Healthy self-care habits can improve diabetes symptoms over time. Implementing these practices into your daily routine will help you change your lifestyle to combat the disease. Check your body for sores, blisters and swelling regularly. If you are prescribed medication, then be sure to take it regularly even if you are feeling great.

Quitting smoking is especially important for those with diabetes. Smoking increases a person’s risk for many of the health conditions caused by diabetes. Additionally, kicking this habit will improve your overall health and quality of life.

Managing your mental health is another healthy habit that is helpful for those dealing with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Higher stress levels often result in a worsening of medical conditions. Having a disease is also a source of anxiety for many people. Practicing stress relief activities can help alleviate this anxiety and other negative emotions. Try meditating, gardening, walking or listening to music as forms of stress relief. Communicating with friends and family is a good way to find support in difficult emotional times. Your loved ones can provide you with a source of happiness and relief.

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