happy person managing diabetes

How to Manage Your Diabetes

Simple Ways to Manage Your Diabetes

One factor that differentiates diabetes from many other diseases is how extensively it can be controlled through lifestyle adjustments. When you’re living with diabetes, you have the real power to minimize its impact. Even small changes can make serious improvements to your quality of life.

Since the disease is affected by many different aspects of your lifestyle, there are a lot of options when it comes to managing diabetes. It’s always a good idea to learn what those options are so you can find the ones that work best for you.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, better known as simply “diabetes”, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The disease comes in several forms but the two most common are diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your pancreas. Type 2 occurs when your body becomes more resistant to insulin, causing sugar to build up in your blood.

Improve Your Eating Habits

It should go without saying that an important part of diabetes management is your diet. If you haven’t already started, you should create a healthy eating plan with the help of a nutritionist or other health care provider, and then try your best to stick to it. The plan should include recommendations on portion sizes as well as what types of food to eat.

Here are some quick tips to remember:

  • Use meal planning to ensure all your meals have a good balance of starches, proteins and fats. 
  • Go for fruits, vegetables and whole grains as much as possible, as these low-carb foods provide fibre to help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
  • Drink less sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda and juices have a lot of empty calories, and can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. Making a habit of drinking more water can help you avoid them.

Get More Exercise

Exercise helps control diabetes in a number of ways. It lowers your blood sugar, decreases your body’s resistance to insulin, and improves heart health. It can also help you lose weight, improve your circulation, lower the risk of many diabetes-related issues.

Whether it’s aerobics or strength training, any physical activity can help. The most important part is discussing your exercise plan with a health care provider and making it part of your regular schedule. 

Important tips to keep in mind:

  • Dehydration can impact your blood sugar levels, so make sure you drink lots of water while exercising.
  • Keep a close eye on your blood sugar when starting a new exercise plan. If the activity or intensity level is new to you, it can sometimes lower your blood sugar the following day.
  • Take care of your feet. If you’ve been dealing with circulation issues, you may be at risk of foot injuries like ulcers. Proper footwear like custom orthotics can help you protect your feet while exercising.
  • Quitting smoking makes exercising easier, and is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level

Blood sugar testing is an essential part of managing diabetes. Not only will it help guide your treatment, but it also helps ensure you stay within safe limits. Some of the benefits it offers include:

  • Helps you judge how well you’re meeting your goals
  • Helps you see how exercise and eating habits affect your blood glucose levels
  • Lets you know when your levels are too high or too low

Use Stress Management Techniques

Stress affects blood sugar in several ways. For one, it triggers a hormone response in your body that can raise blood sugar levels. On top of that, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, you might find it hard to stick to your diabetes management plan.

Here are some quick tips to help you cope with stress:

  • Start monitoring and recording your mood when you check your blood sugar levels. This can help you see the impact stress is having on you. If you notice a pattern, it can help you identify the triggers for your stress, so you can manage it in the future.
  • Get some help learning relaxation techniques. Health care providers can teach you about the different methods and help you find the ones that work best for you.

Get Educated

Diabetes treatment and management can be complicated. It involves a lot of planning around many different aspects of your life. This is why diabetes education programs can be very useful. They can help you understand exactly how the disease impacts you, and the best ways for you to minimize those impacts.

Remember: You Have The Power

Making changes to your lifestyle can take some real effort. When you have a long-standing bad habit, it can be hard to break the cycle. If you take the steps to manage your diabetes early on, eventually you will begin seeing improvements to your health, which can be a great motivator.

Remember that you have the power to control your diabetes. By sticking with your diabetes management plan, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start enjoying better health and quality of life.

As a final note, be sure to speak to your doctor for advice if you need help with diabetes in pregnancy, diabetes in children, or if you develop any diabetes complications.


Diabetes treatment options

Latest Research Shows New Ways To Prevent and Treat Diabetes

The conventional wisdom on type 2 diabetes says that the main risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, and family history. To reduce the risk of developing diabetes (or to help control the disease) many people put their efforts into improving their diet and staying active.

That’s a great start because experts say that even a modest amount of weight loss can noticeably improve the overall health of diabetic patients. But the latest research suggests there’s a lot more that can be done.

New Findings

In recent years, studies have shown that the causes for type 2 diabetes are more complex than you might think. These findings could eventually lead to new developments in how to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.

But in the meantime, here are some of the risk factors that the latest research points towards—and what you can do about them!

In the Mind

One study showed personality traits like hostility and low optimism are linked to diabetes. The study used data from almost 140,000 women and looked at their risk for type 2 diabetes. It found:

  • Women with the lowest levels of optimism had up to 12 percent increased risk
  • Women with the highest levels of hostility had up to 17 percent increased risk

Experts say these personality traits lead to higher levels of stress which cause harmful hormonal changes. And these hormonal changes contribute to diabetes.

What This Means

Mental health therapy should play a role in diabetes treatment. Talk therapy can be a great way to manage your stress levels. In addition, It can also provide you with techniques for managing feelings of hostility and pessimism.

If you don’t think you have the time to get therapy with your busy schedule, consider using a virtual health service. These services are offered by some healthcare providers to enable you to get mental health support and advice via video chats or texts on your phone or tablet. 

In the Gut

There’s also research that highlights the importance of gut health. This research shows that in an obese person, the gut produces lower levels of a certain immune cell. This immune cell creates an antibody that’s needed to neutralize harmful types of gut bacteria. Researchers say the lack of this antibody may contribute to diabetes.

What This Means

This finding reinforces the importance of having a healthy and balanced diet because that can affect gut bacteria and immune cells. To get help with choosing the right foods and planning your meals, you should speak to your healthcare provider or consider getting help from a specialist like a nutritionist.

In the Womb

Other experts are pointing to the importance of prenatal care. Research shows that stressors on a mother during pregnancy (such as poor-nutrition) can make the baby more likely to develop diabetes at some point in its life.

Interestingly, this connection first came to light following the Dutch Hunger Winter in 1944-1945. Women who were pregnant during the famine had children that developed obesity and diabetes at higher rates than normal.

In addition, gestational diabetes (when the mother has diabetes during pregnancy) is another risk factor. 

What This Means

This research highlights the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy. And if you’re pregnant and suspect you have gestational diabetes, you should speak to your doctor. 

Holistic Healthcare

When you look at all of these new findings together, it shows the benefits of a holistic approach to treating diabetes. That means looking at the body as a whole and working to improve your overall health and wellness. 

This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to diet and exercise. Those are still considered major risk factors and one of the best ways you can manage the disease. But it does mean that your diabetes treatment plan should involve a lot of different aspects.

That can include nutritionists to help with meal planning, physiotherapists to help with exercise programs, counsellors to help with mental health, and more.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, some healthcare providers offer diabetes education programs to help you make sense of it all. Remember: there’s no cure for diabetes, but it can be controlled. With a comprehensive diabetes management plan, you can reduce your health risks and start enjoying a better quality of life.