Diabetes is an illness that affects the glucose levels in your blood. It is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the world and the number of people estimated to have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes has increased over the years. It can be scary for those who are diagnosed, but there are ways to live a long and healthy life with diabetes.
Develop a diet and regulation plan
Talk to your doctor about a diet and regulation plan. A plan will be part of your treatment, and a healthy diet is essential for managing blood sugar and a healthy weight. Aim to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid starchy foods like potatoes. The best veggies to include in your meal are carrots, asparagus and leafy greens as they’re low in calories and carbs but full of fibre. Essentially your diet will include; fiber, healthy carbs (fruits, veggies, whole grains), protein (chicken and fish) and finally good fats (avocados, nuts). You’ll need to avoid cholesterol (full fat dairy), saturated fats (deli meats), trans fats (processed foods), and sodium should be consumed in small quantities.
Avoid white foods
That is, white flour, pasta, bread, rice and potatoes. These contain carbohydrates but not enough fiber and protein to help break them down.
Getting exercise will help your body control its glucose levels. Physical activity will make your muscles and fat cells more receptive to insulin. Try to undertake at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity (walking, dancing and running) combined with resistance training (lifting) about three times per week and stretching. When you’re developing your exercise plan, think about the activities you enjoy doing and how you can fit them into your daily schedule.
Not every diabetic will need medication, but as Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease you may need to increase or change the medications you are taking. There are six main types of diabetes pills, insulins and a few injectable drugs that lower your blood glucose.
Ask your pharmacists or certified health care professional for details on when and how to take your medication. You’ll have to be regularly monitored by your doctor if you are taking pills, to ensure everything remains stabilised.
Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked
In addition to checking your glucose levels regularly you should also get your pressure and cholesterol checked. Diabetes doubles your risk of heart disease or stroke and high blood pressure and cholesterol contribute to both. Generally, 130/80 is good for blood pressure. It’s important to keep your cholesterol levels within healthy limits. A normal cholesterol level should be 200 mg or less.
Check your feet daily
Diabetes can lead to poor circulation and loss of sensation in your feet. You’re likely to develop ulcers and calluses on your feet which, if left untreated could lead to an infection. Avoid synthetic materials, especially tight or unventilated shoes and opt for more natural materials such as cotton or leather.