6 Lifestyle Changes to Help You Better Control Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you would know that controlling your diabetic condition becomes a daily, weekly, monthly, and constant challenge, but making an effort is worth the results.
When you have diabetes, your main goal is to manage your condition and keep it under control at all times. Here are a few lifestyle changes and tips for adopting, which can help you achieve your goal and help increase the quality of your life.
Get regular exercise
Engaging in some form of physical activity on a regular basis can be very helpful in making you feel better. However, in the case of diabetes, it helps improve your reaction to insulin, which means it functions better in your body. That’s how exercise can be helpful in keeping your blood sugar levels more stable over a period of time.
Besides, regularly exercising is also great for managing stress and anxiety.
So, if you aren’t active now, you should slowly introduce it to your lifestyle. You can build up the efforts and time you invest in exercise over time. From thrice or four times a week to 6 or even 7 sessions, you can gradually figure out a routine that works for you.
Changing your form of workout or activities can be a great way to continue making this lifestyle change interesting for you. It is also important to observe how introducing regular exercise in your routine is changing your blood sugar levels and discuss with your doctor if you need to adjust your meds or insulin dose.
Take a well-balanced diet
What you eat has a big impact on how you feel and your overall health. Even though having diabetes doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a variety of food options that you like, but your diet can directly affect your blood sugar levels.
To better manage and be in control of your diabetes, it’s a good idea to include non-starchy vegetables in your meal, like:
- Green salads
Besides, it is also important to include some amount of the following food categories:
- Lean meat
- Citrus fruits
- Low-fat or non-fat dairy products
- Poultry or fish
- Sweet potatoes
If you like you can also take vegetarian sources of protein like tofu.
Try to use whole-grain foods for their nutritional value. Some examples of whole-grains include:
- Brown rice
- Whole oats or oatmeal
- Whole wheat
It is recommended that you keep a balanced meal plan with 3 meals a day and try to time them out evenly in the day. However, make sure you try your diet or meal plan with your doctor and make sure whatever you are consuming works for you and your condition.
Alternative treatment plan
As mentioned above diabetes is a challenge that people suffering from this condition have to face every day. Diabetes can sometimes cause other medical issues or complications as well, such as peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy includes many conditions that are associated with damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits signals between the brain and spinal column as well as the other body parts. However, diabetes is one of the various causes of peripheral neuropathy.
Hence, as a diabetic patient, it is a good idea to research and consider alternative treatment options like neuropathy treatments. The right diabetic neuropathy treatment can not only help you better control your sugar levels, but they can also have other benefits, like:
- Improved circulation
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased ability to exercise or engage in physical activities
- Improved quality of sleep
- Avoidance of taking unnecessary medications
- Reduced pain in hands and feet
- Improved sense of relaxation
Treating peripheral and other types of neuropathy caused because of your diabetes can not cure your condition with it can help slow the progression of the illness and help you better manage the pain and complications. However, make sure to discuss any alternative treatment option you are considering with your doctor to ensure if it’s recommended in your particular case.
Having stress is never good, whether you have diabetes or not. However, when you do have diabetes, stress can cause unnecessary complications. As when you are stressed, you tend to exercise less, not put too much effort into taking a balanced diet, drink more, and you may not even watch your diabetes closely.
Besides, stress can raise your blood sugar level and reduce your sensitivity to insulin, which causes more instability in your sugar level. When you are stressed, your body goes in the ‘fight or flight’ zone, which means it will store some sugar and fat for energy. Hence, people with diabetes face sudden ups and downs in their sugar level when going through a stressful time.
So, if something is bothering you, try to make the necessary changes in your life that can help you relax. You may want to try exercising, meditation, spending more time with friends or family, take some time off from work, or replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Try to find what helps you relax and stick to it.
Quitting the habit of smoking can give you better control of your blood sugar levels.
Some habits are better left alone, especially when they have the potential to complicate your diabetic condition as well as cause other serious health problems. Smoking is definitely one of those habits. Following are a few complications that can result from smoking:
- Heart and kidney problems
- Retinopathy – an eye disease that can cause blindness
- Poor flow of blood to the legs and feet – this can lead to ulcers, infections, and amputation of feet or toes
- Peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage in the legs and arms, which can cause numbness, weakness, poor coordination, and pain
Avoid consuming alcohol
When you drink alcohol with certain insulins and oral diabetes meds, your blood sugar can drop to dangerous levels. When you consume alcohol, your liver needs to work in order to remove the alcohol from your blood, which means it is not able to regulate your blood sugar.
Low blood sugar and drunkenness can cause you disorientation, dizziness, and sleepiness. One might confuse the symptoms of low blood sugar and having too much alcohol, which may also cause you more complications.
Hence, it is recommended to cut back on your alcohol consumption and to discuss the acceptable amount of alcohol you can take without putting yourself at risk, with respect to your condition. However, if on certain occasions you plan to drink alcohol, check your blood sugar before and after you take a drink, before you go to bed, and the next day.
Making lifestyle changes
As living with diabetes is a constant challenge, it requires you to make adjustments in your everyday life and make some lifestyle changes, for the better, to be more in control of your condition. However, all the six suggested changes above will not only help you with your diabetes, but it will also help promote overall wellness in your routine and life. They can help improve your quality of life and will turn out to be worth the effort in ling-run for your health and peace of mind of people in your life.