There is no single treatment for diabetes. Carefully managing your diabetes calls for a plan of attack and a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes is a condition that results from abnormally high blood glucose levels. In diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to control sugar levels, and when blood glucose levels increase, complications can occur.
Medication, such as insulin, helps keep blood glucose levels in check. But medication isn’t the only treatment for diabetes. You can also control your diabetes with a healthy lifestyle.
1. Begin an exercise routine and get at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity three times a week. Any type of activity is acceptable, as long as you’re moving. Go for a bike ride, go to the gym for a workout class, enroll in a sport or exercise in your living room.
2. Take off extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
3. Change up your eating habits and eat four to six small meals a day. This keeps your metabolism active and eliminates overeating.
4. Give up unhealthy foods. Watch your sugar intake and take in plenty of healthy alternatives, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Eliminate processed foods from your diet and avoid fatty foods.
Too often, writers and magazines talk about diabetes in the abstract, referring to stats and figures while ignoring the human element. A recent article in the Daily Beast, however, avoids that. It provides a powerful and alarming profile on the human “face” of diabetes.
In this case, it’s a diabetic family in Camden, NJ, led by Alicia Rivera, a mother of three. The article delves into Alicia’s past, and in doing so, underscores the roots of America’s diabetes epidemic.
Alicia came to New Jersey in 1972. At the time, she was surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables, yet also ate traditionally carbohydrate-rich foods for dinner. Nonetheless, she remained thin, until the early 1980s when Camden saw the emergence of more fast food restaurants. During that time, she also had children, which made it more difficult to exercise and eat properly.
Now she spends her days worried about managing diabetes, equipped with an EpiPen – a syringe full of adrenaline that’s always at the ready in the event of an insulin coma.
Ultimately, Alicia’s story has been replicated by millions of diabetics across the country and shows how a poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to diabetes.
There is no cure for diabetes. This is a life-long condition that affects your body’s ability to process sugar or glucose. Many people living with diabetes live relatively healthy lives. Properly managing diabetes is a key to longevity. This involves watching your sugar intake, taking medications as directed, and incorporating other healthy habits into your life. Failure to manage your diabetes can result in life-threatening complications.
Here are a few tips for managing diabetes and keeping your condition under control
1. Take your doctor’s advice and maintain a healthy weight. Cut out fast foods, fatty foods, and other unhealthy selections.
2. Get active and exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes.
3. Add fiber to your diet — eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or take a fiber supplement.
4. Take a vitamin supplement each day. Purchase supplements over-the-counter. Talk to your doctor before starting a vitamin regimen. Ask about other supplements to keep your diabetes under control.
It’s common knowledge that a proper diet and exercise can help in both preventing and managing diabetes. Yet more and more research is suggesting that it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Take the idea of a healthy diet, for example. It is hard to argue with the importance of a diet based on fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber, and whole grains. But the quality of these foods is also of critical importance. As a result, many diabetics are considering going organic.
Research shows that eating foods exposed to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) may contribute to a host of health issues, including diabetes, obesity, low in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and more. In fact, close to 100 studies show a link between POPs and diabetes.
POPs are harmful because they are stored in abdominal fat and as a result, over time, causes low-grade inflammation that erodes cell strength. Obese individuals with high POP levels had the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes, while obese individuals with low POPs showed no sign of diabetes.
It’s worth noting there isn’t a definitive link, as one’s diet is incredibly complex; that said, these recent studies are raising red flags within the diabetes community.
Recent research research suggests that diabetics who fail to control their blood pressure may face higher long-term risks compared to non-diabetics. Needless to say, these findings, on the surface, seem to further complicate efforts to effectively treat manage diabetes.
It is not all bad news however. For instance, many of the lifestyle changes that can help ease hypertension can also keep diabetes in check. These include getting regular aerobic exercise, losing weight, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, not smoking, and avoiding alcohol. There are also dozens of drugs on the market than can effectively treat high blood pressure.
Ultimately, diabetics should add periodic blood pressure checks to their regimen and work closely with their doctors to identify and meet healthy blood pressure levels.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that close to 20 million people in the United States have diabetes. What’s worse, the group also claims that approximately seven million Americans have diabetes, but are unaware that they have it.
Needless to say, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, underscoring how much more work we as a society need to do around diabetes prevention and treatment.
For those managing diabetes, they are invariably aware of what they should do to keep their blood sugars in check. But many times, proper diabetes care fails to provide simple, concise, and most importantly, actionable steps to effectively manage diabetes.
For example, take the need to exercise. Diabetics are told they should exercise, but a better question is how should they exercise? An effective regimen for a relatively fit diabetic can differ than that for an older, heavier individual; after all, excessive or overly strenuous exercise can cause a sudden drop in blood sugars.
So if you are trying manage your diabetes and need greater clarification around vague terms like “exercise more” or “eat better,” immediately ask your doctor for practical and tangible guidelines.
It would not be an understatement to say that America is facing an epidemic in terms of the growth of Type 2 diabetes.
And if there’s any good news to be found in this development, it is the fact that Type 2 diabetes can be effectively managed through exercise and diet. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is far less common yet far more serious than Type 2 diabetes. Without proper diabetes care, Type 1 diabetics who fail to effectively manage their blood sugars may face blindness or even amputation. In addition, recent research found that Type 1 diabetics face an increased risk of heart disease if they fail to manage their glucose levels.
Type 1 diabetes is best described as an autoimmune condition in which white blood cells attack the pancreas and render it unable to produce insulin. Lacking insulin, cells cannot be enriched with glucose, which helps regulate the body’s metabolism. As a result, Type 1 diabetes must check provide their bodies with insulin and check their levels multiple times a day.
And fortunately, many recent medical advances such as insulin pumps have helped to make the lives of Type 1 diabetics manageable and routine.
It goes without saying that where we live can positively or negatively affect our health. It’s no surprise, for example, that people who live in sunnier climates tend to exercise more. At the same time, it’s also no surprise that people in cloudy, frigid climates are less active and prone to depression (hence Seasonal Affective Disorder.)
Now comes even more compelling evidence related to diabetes management, indicating that individuals who move from poor neighborhoods to less-poor ones not only lower their risk of becoming obese, but also in developing Type-2 diabetes.
For starters, individuals in poor neighborhoods lack easy access to affordable and fresh fruits and vegetables – the cornerstone of a healthy diet that can prevent diabetes. They also often lack access to gyms or other places where they can exercise. And even though they can, theoretically, walk in their neighborhoods, increased crime rates can be a huge deterrent.
One of the most important elements of diabetes care – particularly those with Type 2 Diabetes – is establishing and sticking to a healthy diet.
Experts agree that while no two individuals are alike, there are some basic guidelines one can follow to help keep blood sugars under control. For starters, the main ingredients for a healthy diabetes-focused diet are more or less identical to that of a non-diabetic: lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of fiber, healthy fats like almonds, avocado, and fish, and plant-based proteins.
In fact, adhering to these rules can also reduce the risk of diabetes for non-diabetics. One study, for example, found that individuals who consumed approximately 1.5 servings of rich, leafy greens a day were close to 15 percent less likely to get diabetes.
With that foundation set, diabetics can consider more specific dietary choices attuned to their condition, like increasing magnesium consumption by eating fish, nuts, and seeds; increasing Vitamin D intake, and drinking less sugary drinks.
Experts also suggest diabetes pick up weights, as such exercise not only helps diabetics lose weight, but can improve sugar levels.
More and more folks are getting out there and enjoying their daily walk. It’s a great form of physical activity that can really help the fight against obesity and other cardiovascular diseases. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, there is even more reason to get out and walk.
Walking is a great help for folks managing diabetes as it reduces blood glucose levels. Walking for 30 minutes to an hour each day helps the muscles to absorb the sugar that could become built up in the bloodstream. And while this is great news it isn’t permanent, you have to get out there and walk consistently to reap this benefit. If you have diabetes you’re at an increased risk of heart disease and walking helps to keep your weight in control.
Once you have the go-ahead from your physician, it is important to enlist the help of a podiatrist to make sure your feet remain healthy. Any blistering or sores on the feet could lead to infection. But with a great pair of walking shoes that fit comfortably, do not rub at the toe or the heel, you should find walking very enjoyable.
If you have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and not in control. But once you realize that managing diabetes is completely within your control you will feel so much more relaxed and able to reduce your risk of complications.
Of course being mindful of what you are putting into your body is of the highest concern as is taking your diabetes medication but you also need to check with your physician about what exercise program you can begin. If you aren’t exercising at all you are removing one of the surest means to help manage your diabetes.
If exercise is new to you, you will want to begin slowly. Starting an exercise program doesn’t mean you need to run out and join a gym, buy all the accoutrements and sign up to run a marathon. Even the smallest activity will put you on the road to managing your disease.
If you do some morning stretches and take a small walk daily you will be making a great improvement. If there is work to be done around the yard such as raking leaves or weeding in the garden, this will keep you active and give you more energy. If your car needs to be washed or the dog needs to be walked, you will begin to feel better. Other ways to start small would be to park at the end of the parking lot and walk a little further to the store, walk every aisle even though it is not required. If you have a job during the day, take a walk with co-workers or make this a time to do errands. And of course, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
All these seemingly small exercises will ultimately burn calories and have you feeling better. And the better you begin to feel the quicker you will see results and you will be in control.
As with any exercise program, please check with your doctor
One of the best ways we can control diabetes is with a regular exercise program. Although it’s often the last thing we feel like doing, physical activity helps the body respond to insulin as well as being a proven method of reducing blood glucose. It can even eliminate the need for medication completely in Type 2 diabetes!
Frequent exercise not only combats stress and fatigue, keeping glucose levels down, but also improves the circulatory problems suffered by many diabetics and can lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed, or are overweight, it’s advisable to seek professional help before you begin exercising, and your doctor should be able to tell you what level of exertion to aim for, as well as any potential complications which may arise. Also ask what kind of exercise is right for you; if you have problems with your feet consider riding a bike or swimming rather than walking or jogging.
Here are a few tips on getting started:
Always wear comfortable clothing. If you’re jogging or walking, buy well made shoes and wear them in before heading off.
Warm up with a series of stretches and warm down with the same when you finish.
Always carry a snack or glucose tablets to treat hypoglycaemia.
Wear an ID bracelet with details of your condition, in case of injury or any other problem.
Try and find somebody to exercise with, it’ll make the whole process more enjoyable and help you stick to your new routine.
Diabetics should always try and exercise at the same time every day, making the activity part of a regular routine and gradually building up the amount of time they are active. Remember, it’s important to start slowly and build up your new regime over time.