Over 25 million Americans are living with diabetes. The key to living a normal life with diabetes is self-management. Many people struggle with diabetes because a large part of the treatment regimen falls on the patients’ shoulders, sometimes when they don’t even feel sick.
If you have diabetes, here are some diabetes management guidelines to consider.
A healthy diet will help keep glucose levels in control. In addition to avoiding sugary foods,
- Avoid starchy foods: Starchy foods are converted into sugar during digestion, and diabetics cannot properly break down sugar. Limiting your intake of sugar is key to managing diabetes.
- Add variety: Each meal should be a mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low or non-fat dairy and lean meat (or a meat substitute like tofu).
- Eat regular meals: Space them out evenly throughout the day to prevent high spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Watch portions: Even too much of the right thing can be a bad thing.
Any type of exercise will help your body burn the sugar and keep it from accumulating in your bloodstream. Don’t worry about the type of exercise (walking, running, yoga, gardening, dancing, strength training) — just do something! Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days per week. Exercise will also help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight, which can help prevent further diabetes complications.
Some people with diabetes need to take insulin. Other people will see benefits from other medications that help your body produce and use insulin. Your doctor and care management team will determine which medication, if any, will work for you.
Monitor Blood Glucose Levels
Your doctor may ask you to monitor your glucose levels at home. There are many different home testing kits available — some are even available at your drug store’s pharmacy. Testing at home gives you control and allows you to make the proper adjustments to your diet and medication. Visit the American Diabetes Association to access Diabetes 24/7 — a free online tool to help you track your progress.
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