Diabetes management requires awareness and the knowledge of what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall. It also involves how to control these day-to-day factors.
There are three main types of diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and Gestational diabetes.
In Type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. This becomes a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body to use.
In type 2-diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well, and you may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is the kind that some women get when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born, but these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.
Words in the street suggest that diabetes is not taken as a serious disease. That is not correct since diabetes is serious. However, you can learn to manage it.
How To Manage Diabetes
People with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, maintain a healthy weight, move more (exercise) every day, and take their medications even when they feel good. It’s not easy, but it’s totally worth it.
Keeping your blood sugar levels within the range recommended by health expert can be challenging, because many things make your blood sugar levels change, sometimes unexpectedly.
But the secret to managing type 2-diabetes isn’t found in a pill. In most cases, the best way to treat type 2-diabetes is by practicing healthy habits on a daily basis.
Basic principles of good health like eating right, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can be as effective as medicine in the management of type 2 diabetes for most people.
Researchers found that over a four-year period, changes, like eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise, led to weight loss and improved diabetes control in 5,000 overweight participants with type 2 diabetes.
Improve Your Diet to Help You Treat Type 2 Diabetes Naturally
Keeping close monitoring on your diet is a major way to help manage type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet for people with type 2 diabetes includes:
- fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables,
- whole grains,
- lean meats, and
- low-fat or fat-free dairy.
You should focus on eating fruit and non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, and lettuce, and having smaller portions of starchy foods, meats, and dairy products.
Be especially careful about dieting on foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI) and especially the glycemic load (GL).
Avoid alcohol because the liver normally releases stored sugar to counteract falling blood sugar levels, but if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, your blood sugar level may not get the boost it needs from your liver.
Alcohol can result in low blood sugar shortly after you drink it and for as many as a full day.
Alcohol can aggravate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye disease, but if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink may not be too bad.
Don’t drink alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach. If you take insulin or other diabetes medications, be sure to eat before you drink to prevent low blood sugar.
Keep A Record
Tally your calories, and remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Learn how to incorporate calories and carbohydrates from alcoholic drinks into your diet plan.
Check your blood sugar level before bed, because alcohol can lower blood sugar levels long after you’ve had your last drink. If your blood sugar isn’t between 100 and 140 mg/dL (5.6 and 7.8 mmol/L), talk to your doctor, or have a snack before to counter a drop in your blood sugar level.
Lose Weight, Especially Belly Fat To Lower Glucose Levels
Losing weight can improve blood sugar levels and help keep type 2 diabetes under control, and you don’t have to lose a lot of weight to make a difference. Losing just 10 to 15 pounds can lower your glucose levels.
Even without losing a pound, you can help keep type 2-diabetes under control with exercise.
When you do physical activity, such as walking, your muscle contractions push glucose out of your blood into your cells, and the result is better blood sugar levels.
Be prepared always, and have a small snack or glucose tablets with you during exercise in case your blood sugar level drops too low. Wear a medical identification bracelet in case of emergency.
Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed, and if you take insulin, you may need to reduce your insulin dose before exercising or wait after exercise to inject insulin.
Drink plenty of water or similar fluids because dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.
Manage Your Sleep to Help Manage Blood Sugar Spikes
Many overweight people with type 2 diabetes suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing temporarily while sleeping. In fact, a study published in 2013 suggests that as many as one in two people with type 2 diabetes may have or be at high risk for sleep apnea, many of whom are undiagnosed.
People with type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea are at higher risk of death from diabetes complications like heart attack and stroke.
Poorly managed stress can make blood sugar levels more difficult to control, and you can try using relaxation techniques to chase away stress. You can try:
- tai chi,
- massage, and
- soothing music.
Additionally, stress relief may help you sleep better, and that can lighten your type 2 diabetes. Sleeping less than six hours a night has been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes type 2-diabetes.
Once you know how stress affects your blood sugar level, learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Avoid common stressors, and exercise regularly. Exercise can often help relieve stress and lower your blood sugar level.
You may find that working with a psychologist or clinical social worker can help you identify stressors, or learn new stress coping skills.
The management strategies mentioned above can have a dramatic impact on blood sugar levels and the progression of type 2 diabetes. Simple lifestyle changes will improve how you feel and will help ensure a healthier future.
Typically, when the diet, stress management, and exercise are all good and regular, then medication requirements will be less, and that’s a good thing.