If you have diabetes, you know that it’s important to manage your condition and stay healthy. But you may not know exactly what you need to do to achieve those goals.
The good news is that by following a few simple steps, you can dramatically improve your health and quality of life. In this article, we’ll share six things people with diabetes should do to stay healthy.
1. Monitor your blood sugar levels
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is an essential part of managing your diabetes. By checking these levels regularly and keeping track of any changes, you can take steps to keep them within the recommended range. This will help you make decisions about when and what to eat or drink, as well as how active you can be.
There are a number of different methods for monitoring blood sugar levels, including traditional finger pricks and newer continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) that automatically track blood sugar levels throughout the day. Thus, you may need diabetes supplies, particularly glucose test strips, lancets, alcohol prep pads, and syringes. Talk to your doctor about what method is right for you and how often you should be testing. It’s also important for your doctor to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly so that any potential issues can be identified early on.
2. Get regular exercise
Exercise is important for everyone, but it’s especially critical for people with diabetes. That’s because physical activity can help control blood sugar levels and prevent or delay the onset of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity on most days of the week. If you’re just starting out, try breaking up your exercise into shorter segments throughout the day. And be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.
3. Eat a healthy diet
What you eat has a big impact on your blood sugar levels and overall health. So it’s important to choose foods that will help you control your diabetes and avoid complications. People with diabetes need to pay attention not only to the amount of carbohydrates they consume each day but also to the types of carbs they eat. For example, while fruits are considered a healthy food choice for anyone, some fruits have more carbs than others (for example, watermelon has 14g per 1 cup serving) and should therefore be consumed in smaller quantities or avoided altogether by people with diabetes.
A generally healthy plate should have plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains but in measured portions. Limit sugary drinks, processed meats, and refined carbohydrates. And make sure to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you need help creating a healthy eating plan that’s right for you.
4. Take your medications as prescribed
If you have diabetes, you’ll likely need to take one or more medications to keep your blood sugar levels under control. It’s important to take these medications exactly as prescribed and to never skip or miss a dose.
If you have trouble remembering to take your medications, ask your doctor about ways to make it easier, such as setting a daily alarm or using a pillbox. And be sure to let your doctor know if you have any concerns about your medications or how they’re affecting you.
5. Take care of your feet
People with diabetes are at increased risk for foot problems such as nerve damage and infection, so it’s important to take special precautions to protect these vulnerable parts of your body. Make sure to wash your feet daily in lukewarm water, dry them thoroughly, and moisturize.
Also, be sure to inspect your feet regularly for any wounds or abnormalities and report any concerns to your doctor right away. And if you have a history of foot problems, ask your doctor about getting fitted for specially designed diabetic shoes.
6. Manage your stress levels
Stress can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and overall health, so it’s important to find ways to manage this common problem. Some strategies that may work include practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga, scheduling regular exercise sessions, engaging in social activities with family and friends, and finding a support group if needed. By addressing the underlying causes of stress in your life and making healthy lifestyle changes, you can help keep your diabetes under control.
If you have diabetes, following these six tips can help you stay healthy and avoid complications. But it’s also important to see your doctor regularly for checkups and to talk to them about any concerns you may have. With proper care and treatment, people with diabetes can lead long, healthy lives.