Living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes
As a person, you can't control everything that impacts your health- your genetic makeup, your age, or your family history of genetic disorders. Diabetes is one such complication that cannot be cured completely. Because of fast lives and hectic schedules, it often becomes difficult to manage such a health condition effectively. However, what you can do is take certain basic steps in your lifestyle to reach your full health potential, adding years to your life and improving its quality, even when you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
“With proper management—including blood glucose monitoring, a proper diabetes diet, and regular visits to your diabetes doctor—people with the condition can live full, healthy lives. And don’t fret if you take a wrong turn or two along the way. “It’s not the end of the world. This is a slowly progressive disease, and you can turn things around and get back on the right path”
-Dr. Hamdy Phillip (American Diabetes Association)
To most people, it would seem like a tedious task, but becoming healthier isn’t as difficult as you think. Here are a few basics for a healthy lifestyle:
- Choose a healthy lifestyle: By managing your weight through proper nutrition and regular physical activity and finding healthy ways to deal with stress and hypertension, you can prevent or even delay the onset of diabetes and minimize its impact on your body. A healthy lifestyle will also reduce the risk of developing a host of other medical conditions.
- A Low GI Diet: A low GI diet ensures that your sugar levels do not rise abruptly, thus maintaining a balanced level in the blood, thereby enhancing the health of the individual. These foods include healthy substitutes to your daily staples and snacks, such as white rice, bread, etc.
- Know your health numbers: Through home monitoring and regular visits to your doctor, you can keep track of your blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. These critical health numbers provide insight into how well your treatment plan is working and what changes need to be made in order to manage your diabetes and safeguard your overall health, including that of your heart
- The complete health checkup: Diabetes may have multiple health implications on various aspects such as your vision, your feet and legs, and your heart. Getting annual health check ups to monitor your vital organ health and other health markers is a good practice for diabetics.
- Coordinate your meals with medication: Too little food in proportion to your diabetes medication — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). But, too much food may cause your blood sugar level to rise (hyperglycemia). Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages at all costs: Sugar-sweetened beverages tend to be extremely high in calories and offer very little nutrition. And because they cause blood sugar to rise quickly, it's strictly advised to avoid these types of drinks if you have diabetes. The exception is only if you are experiencing a low blood sugar level. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, juice and even sports drinks can be used as an effective treatment for quickly raising low blood sugar levels.
- Read food labels to check sugar and content: It is extremely vital to read labels of whatever you consume and make sure you check the sugar and calorie content
- Maintain an exercise schedule: Consult your doctor regarding the best time of day for you to exercise so that your workout routine is coordinated with your meal and medication schedules. A daily 40 minute walk can do wonders for a diabetic person as it helps keep the metabolism rate steady. Getting a smartwatch to monitor your daily activity may turn out to be a great investment and make you consistently achieve those elusive 10,000 steps.
- Weight Management: Two ways that can help you manage weight are to eat healthy and be more physically active. To lose weight, you must consume a balanced meal of fewer calories. In order to maintain a healthy BMI, the daily calorie intake for an adult male should not be more than 1400 calories and for an adult female, the limit is set to be 1200. Consult your dietician / nutritionist for your optimal calorie intake based on how active / sedentary your lifestyle is.
In conclusion, diabetes is a more common health condition than most people think it is and a perfectly normal lifestyle can be led by a diabetic, provided that certain changes in diet and lifestyle are adhered to.