Whether you have prediabetes, type 1 diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, you need to pay careful attention to your blood sugar and overall health.
With prediabetes, certain lifestyle changes can actually delay or prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes. But once you have type 1 diabetes (where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin) or type 2 diabetes (where your body doesn’t respond appropriately to the insulin it produces), you’re in for a lifetime of management strategies.
At Kenilworth Primary Care, Dr. Bhavani Jeereddy helps patients throughout Kenilworth, New Jersey, and beyond keep their diabetes under control with medication and insulin treatments. Professional treatment is critical. If you let your symptoms go unchecked, your diabetes can lead to serious complications like nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, vision and foot problems, and kidney and dental disease.
But that doesn’t mean drug therapy is the only way to control your diabetes. You have more power than you may realize when it comes to self-managing your symptoms. Dr. Jeereddy and our team are passionate about your health and wellness and believe you play an important role in the process. With that in mind, here are five habits you can adopt that will put you in control of your diabetes.
1. Diet is king
Having diabetes means managing your blood sugar, and managing your blood sugar means eating a healthy diet that's not high in sugar or saturated fat. Adding these healthy choices is a great start:
- Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna
- Plenty of fiber and good carbs from fruits, grains, veggies, and legumes
- Mono-and polyunsaturated fats from avocados, nuts, and some oils
A healthy diet reduces your risk for diabetes and helps improve your symptoms, but what’s on the menu isn’t the only thing to consider. Controlling your portions and eating at the same time each day can improve your condition, as well.
2. Move more
Everyone needs to exercise The human body was designed to move, so a sedentary lifestyle sets the stage for multiple problems. And when you have diabetes, it compounds your symptoms.
Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat for about half an hour every day can help lower your weight, your risk of heart disease, your stress levels, and your blood sugar.
3. Go to sleep
Sleep is the time when your body regenerates and restores itself. When robbed of decent shut-eye on a regular basis, your body can’t function properly. This is especially concerning if you have diabetes because long-term sleeplessness throws your hormones out of whack. Your body produces less insulin (critical in managing blood sugar) and produces high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone that also interferes with insulin’s ability to do its job) — that’s a bad combination for diabetics.
Lack of sleep can also make you feel less satisfied after a meal, causing you to eat more, and may make you crave sugar and carbs, both of which may lead to weight gain and exacerbate your diabetes symptoms.
4. Quit smoking
Nothing good comes from smoking, and if you have diabetes, lighting up puts you in serious danger. People who smoke have a 30%-40% higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes than those who don’t smoke. And if you already have diabetes, smoking can prevent your body from responding to your insulin treatments effectively.
5. Calm down
Stress is the enemy of diabetes. Too much makes your heart race, your blood pressure spike, and your blood sugar gets out of control. Some of this is due to the hormone cortisol that your body releases when it’s under duress, but part of it is the fact that stress can interrupt your diet, your eating schedule, your medication, and your sleep cycles.
Managing stress with strategies like prayer, meditation, support groups, and talking to a therapist or trusted friend can help lower your stress and improve your diabetes symptoms.
And because some stress and emotional turmoil are unavoidable, it’s even more important to keep yourself as healthy and strong as possible to withstand the inevitable life events like grief, relationship issues, and job pressure.
Remember, self-management strategies are meant to complement the care you get here at Kenilworth Primary Care, not replace it. Regular check-ups are critical. When you visit our office, we'll monitor your progress and make adjustments to your treatment plan as necessary.
When your diabetes symptoms are more than you can handle, make sure you come in right away — we’re in this together. Contact our office to learn how we can help manage your diabetes.