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November 14, 2017 – Diabetes is manageable if you know how
Article by author Chloe Pearson.
Article top photo Jenny Hill at Unplash.
If you have diabetes, you already know that staying healthy is going to be a challenge: Keeping track of your blood sugar, your weight, your blood pressure, your cholesterol and more. It can make a person frustrated and want to quit.
Unfortunately, you can’t. Quitting means possibly losing your sight, a limb or your life. There are simple steps you can take to get your diabetes under control and make your life better now and years down the road.
If you haven’t already, talk to your doctor. Ask her about your plan for better diabetes management. There are often free classes available that can teach you the ins and outs of diabetes, so ask her about signing up for these important lessons. Even if you’ve ignored her advice before, it’s never too late to get started. Your body needs special care.
In the meantime, here are a few tips you can use to get control of your life and become more healthy.
- Watch your carbs — While you’re focused on sugar, you have to beware of other carbohydrates, too. Carbs include things like bread, chips, potatoes, rice and sugar. When your body metabolizes them, they turn into sugar and make your blood sugar rise. A low-carbohydrate diet can often help people with diabetes.
- Watch your fats — You need some fats in your diet, but Americans eat far more than the body needs. Saturated and trans fats can increase your blood cholesterol, which damages your heart and blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and walnuts; and unsaturated fats, found in vegetables like avocados and olive oil, help fight cholesterol.
- Get moving — Exercise is one of the most important ways to control your diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week: that’s about 20 minutes daily. That’s not a huge amount of exercise, and if it sounds like too much, you can build up to it.Just start walking. Go outside and walk to the end of the block and back. If you haven’t exercised in a while, this might wear you out. But do it again tomorrow and the next day. You’ll find that it gets less difficult after a while. Then slowly increase your distance, and you’ll soon be a walking champ. Consider walking with a friend — the added accountability will increase your likelihood of sticking with it, and talking while you walk will make the time go by faster.Don’t forget to include your muscles. You don’t have to join a gym for this — you can create your own at home for very little money. If money is tight, invest in one item at a time. Get some dumbbells or kettlebells, a yoga mat, resistance bands, suspension trainers, etc. Before long, you’ll have your own fully equipped gym. Be careful how you use weights — the heavy ones can get dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Do some research on proper form before you start. If walking isn’t your happy place, consider doing something else that makes you feel good. Try swimming, yoga, pilates, dance fitness, etc. As long as your heart rate is raised, your body is reaping benefits.
Exercise can also help keep your weight down, which is very important to managing diabetes, especially Type 2.
- Go to the doctor — Seeing your doctor regularly is very important, but so is seeing other types of doctors. See an opthamologist to get your eyes checked, see a podiatrist to keep an eye on your feet, see a cardiologist to make sure your heart and arteries are in good shape and see a dentist to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Diabetes affects all areas of your body, and the sooner you get it under control, the better you’ll feel throughout your life.