5 Simple Ways to Take Control of Your Diabetes for Better Health
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November is American Diabetes Month aiming to raise awareness in the movement to Stop Diabetes®. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. If you are battling the disease, learn five tips to help you take control of your health.
November is American Diabetes Month. In the United States, it’s estimated that roughly 25.8 million children and adults have diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. Seven million of those people are undiagnosed.
If you do have diabetes, it’s important to take care of yourself and your diabetes, helping prevent or delay some of the serious problems diabetes may cause. Michael Clark, MD, a preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, offers five simple tips to help you take control of your diabetes.
Know your Diabetes
Knowledge is one of the best ways to combat diabetes. Diabetes is able to affect our entire body. Talk in depth and frequently with a diabetes educator and/or your physician to assure you are always up-to-date with the latest information.
Aside from talking to your physician, make an effort to read the literature on diabetes. Thankfully, there are some great books available as well as online websites such as diabetes.org which give you important information in a structured, easy-to-understand way. Ultimately, every patient with diabetes should know their bodies and their condition better than anyone else, including their physician.
Know your Blood Sugar
How does diabetes affect you? Testing your blood sugar will not only let you see how you’re doing on a regular basis, but it should also help you understand your diabetes and inform your decision making. This could include choosing a suitable diet, knowing how activity affects you and how stressful days and illness should be managed. Furthermore, the more detail you record, the better prepared you will be when you meet with your physician.
Pick the Right Diet
A healthy diet will help in a myriad of ways. The right diet will improve blood sugar levels, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce tiredness, improve digestion and can significantly improve clarity of thought.
Diet can be a confusing aspect for people dealing with diabetes. While much of the information available might seem confusing or contradictory, there are some common themes to keep in mind such as eating foods that have plenty of fiber and a low glycemic index. Vegetables and unsalted nuts fit the criteria well. Fish and lean meats are great options.
Get in Activity
Minimal activity each day can help improve our health and help us feel more energetic through the day. Even a 20 minute walk or 15 minutes of push-ups and/or aerobics in your own living room will get the heart pumping.
The effect of regular activity is also known to help increase insulin sensitivity, which can be useful for all types of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
When exercising, remember these tips:
Work towards doing at least 30 minutes every day.
Make it fun, not a chore.
Try a pedometer.
Manage Sleep and Stress
Is your head hitting the pillow for at least eight hours per night? Getting at least eight hours of restful sleep will not only help manage your weight, but it will help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Stress can often get in the way of managing your diabetes. Find out what's causing stress in your life, learn ways to reduce or cope with daily stressors and schedule something fun on a regular basis.
With these helpful, managing tips, you will be able to tackle your diabetes head on.
For more information about Cooper Clinic or to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive physical exam, call 972.560.2667.