When diabetes strikes, it doesn’t simply affect your blood sugar – it affects your entire body. If left uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health complications and eventually death. But there is hope for people with diabetes. There are plenty of actions you can take starting today which can help you keep your diabetes under control. You can control diabetes instead of diabetes controlling you. Keep reading to learn 10 simple ways to control diabetes.
Tip Number One: Quit Smoking! Diabetics are at risk for all kinds of health complications. Smoking increases a diabetic’s risk for every one of these diseases. If you smoke – quit now! Get support from friends and family. Visit your doctor for help and advice and possibly a nicotine replacement patch. Diabetics must not smoke!
Tip Number Two: Lose Excess Weight. By simply lowering your bodyweight by 5% to 10%, you can lower your blood sugar and make it easier for your body to control blood sugar levels. Simple ways to lose weight are to reduce your meal serving sizes. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables while decreasing your intake of ‘junk’ foods. Increase your physical activity levels.
Tip Number Three: Get Physically Active. You can help control your blood sugar and help your body to use insulin better by being more physically active. A simple rule of thumb is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. Walking at a brisk pace is one of the simplest and most effective exercises you can do. Do some form of strength training 2 or 3 times per week if you have type 2 diabetes.
Tip Number Four: Eat A Healthy Diet. There really isn’t a diabetic’s diet which all diabetics should follow because each person’s body is different, and how they react to food is unique to each person. However, there are some basic diet guidelines based on decades of scientific medical research which all diabetics can easily follow.
Eat high fiber foods which are low in saturated fats and low in cholesterol. One of the most powerful, yet simple rules of thumb for eating a healthy diet is this: eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Limit breads to whole grain types only. Include some form of protein with each meal.
Tip Number Five: Use & Follow A Meal Planning Tool Every Day. Find a meal planning tool which works for you and stick with it every day. The most common meal plan methods range from carb counting to exchange lists (similar to how Weight Watchers works). It doesn’t matter much about which method you choose as long as you follow it daily. Talk to a certified diabetic educator, dietitian or nutritionist to learn more.
Tip Number Six: Daily Blood Sugar Monitoring. You need to check your glucose levels each day. It is best to check at the same time each day. Some diabetics will have to monitor their blood sugar several times per day. Your physician will tell you how often to check. It is imperative that you monitor these levels and keep track of them in a log book. Many glucometers keep a memory of glucose levels automatically. Do this every day!
Tip Number Seven: Limit Or Eliminate Alcohol. Believe it or not alcohol can lead to low blood sugar which causes fainting or convulsions. It is safest if you completely eliminate your alcohol consumption. If you must drink, visit with your physician to learn how much is acceptable.
Tip Number Eight: Keep Teeth And Gums Healthy. Diabetics are actually at an increased risk for gum disease – believe it or not! By brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day you can help keep your gums and teeth healthy and resist gum disease. Also visit your dentist every 6 months for checkups.
Tip Number Nine: Remain Emotionally And Psychologically Strong. For many diabetics, dealing with a chronic illness can really do some damage to overall emotional and mental health. It can be a very stressful and traumatic occurrence – and it never goes away! Take time for yourself to relax and de-stress. Find a local diabetic support group and join it to meet others who are facing similar challenges and learn how they are dealing with it. Make sure your friends and family are on the lookout for signs of depression. Keep your doctor informed about your emotional condition.
Tip Number Ten: Take Care Of Your Feet. Diabetics are especially at risk for all kinds of ailments to the feet. Because diabetes can damage the nerves by reduced blood flow and circulation, the extremities are particularly vulnerable – especially the feet because we keep them covered in socks and shoes. It is easy to have sores on your feet without you even being aware of it! Check your feet for sores, cracks, redness, etc. every day! Wear comfortable shoes. Keep your feet clean and dry.
Follow these ten ways to keep diabetes under control. It’s the little things that you do each day that can have the biggest impact on your diabetes. Get started today!