Diabetes can be best handled by self-management than any other means. Diabetes self-management can reduce blood sugar levels, mortality risk, and healthcare costs, as well as weight in people with excess weight.
In many cases, diabetes can be controlled through better nutrition, a healthy weight, physical activity, and regular checkups with your health care team.
In this article, we discuss strategies that people with diabetes can use every day to improve their health.
The two important indicators of diabetes control are levels of glycated hemoglobin and blood glucose.
To measuring glycated hemoglobin, you need to take a blood test in a doctor’s office However, you can measure your blood glucose at home.
Doctors recommend that people who use insulin should frequently check their glucose levels. The right frequency of these checks varies from person to person, but doctors usually recommend monitoring levels before and after meals, at bedtime, and before exercising.
People with diabetes who are not taking insulin should also check their blood sugar levels. Self-monitoring can provide information about the effects of dietary changes, physical activity, and medication on blood sugar levels at any time. If you have a blood glucose meter handy, you can measure blood sugar levels any time.
There are also continuous glucose monitors, which provide real-time information about blood sugar levels. These automatically measure levels every 5 minutes through a small sensor inserted under the skin.When a person uses it appropriately, this type of technology can improve health outcomes.
Always check your blood sugar if you feel symptoms of high blood sugar (thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision), or low blood sugar (lightheadedness, dizzy, confusion, sweating, shaking, fast or pounding heartbeat) and call your doctor. It is important to immediately treat low blood sugar (<70) with a simple carbohydrate such as fruit juice, regular soda pop, or glucose tablets.
Check your blood sugar more often when you are sick, as infection can make blood sugar rise. And be sure to get plenty of fluids and drink some carbohydrate- containing fluids if you can’t eat. It is very important to continue taking your diabetes medications when you are sick. If you are unsure of dosages if unable to eat, call your doctor or nurse practitioner.
Nutrition for Type-2 Diabetes
- Follow a consistent meal plan and schedule.
- Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, low-fat dairy products, and lean meat, poultry, fish or meat alternatives.
- Eat the right amount of carbohydrate foods for good blood sugar control. Your registered dietician can determine how much carbohydrate food your body needs at each meal.
- Choose lower fat options and limit saturated fats.
- Use sugar in moderation. Consider lower sugar options if available.
- Check nutrition labels.
- Get your fiber. The American Dietetic Association recommends that all people eat 20-35 grams of fiber per day. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grain foods are good sources of fiber.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use less salt.
Nutrition for Type 1 Diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes should follow good general nutrition guidelines, and in addition, the insulin dose can be adjusted to the mealtime carbohydrates, which allows for more flexibility in meal planning. Your health care provider can help determine how much insulin you need at each meal.
Good amount of physical Activity
Physical activity is good for your health- especially for people with diabetes or those trying to prevent the disease.
In addition to improving blood sugar control, decreasing the risk of diabetes, and maintaining overall good health and weight management, being active boosts brain activity, and helps you de-stress.
Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to being overweight. Diabetes research demonstrates that along with healthy eating habits, regular physical activity helps the body to use insulin better, which helps to improve the symptoms — or even reduce the risk — of Type 2 diabetes. It is very important to check with your doctor first before starting any exercise program. Your doctor can give you an appropriate exercise prescription based on your personal health status.
Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet—even a small cut can produce serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection.
It is very important to check your feet daily, keep them clean and soft, wear well-fitting, breathable shoes and socks, and report any changes you observe to your health care provider.
Good Health Care Follow Up
Finally, it is very important to see your doctor or nurse practitioner regularly to monitor your diabetes, make adjustments in medications, order appropriate tests, and prescribe education for you to better manage your diabetes day to day.
Do you follow any other self management tips? Share it with us in the comment section.