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Living with diabetes is no fun at all. It’s a bummer. Finding out that you have diabetes doesn’t mean you cannot live a mostly normal life but you’re going to have to do a few things differently. Here are 10 tips that will help you manage your diabetes.
Your blood sugar numbers are some of the most important numbers that you need to know. Continuous glucose monitoring systems can be a big help when it comes to keeping tabs on your blood sugar. Knowing when it’s too high or too low gives you the power to correct your blood sugar quickly. Using glucose cards for monitoring can also help you see patterns of how your blood sugars are changing over time. The data can help you determine whether you might need to make some changes in your lifestyle.
If you’re using a continuous glucose monitoring system, you should be testing your blood sugar with finger sticks at least 1-3 times a day depending on your medications. The best time to test is after a meal. I highly recommend knowing your fasting blood sugar levels because your blood sugars will change drastically in between meals, before meals, after meals, etc.
Testing alone is not enough. You have to keep your numbers somewhere too. As I mentioned earlier, you want to be able to see the larger patterns that tell a story about your glucose levels. For instance, you might eventually see the evidence that you need to stop going to your weekly ladies’ or boys’ night out. Many apps are available that help you to record your numbers and even give you graphs for changes over time.
Patients with diabetes are also at high risk for heart attacks and strokes. You have to find ways to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. The magic number for blood pressure is 120/70 mm of Hg. If you can’t stay close to that, that’s okay but anything around 140/90 mm of Hg, means you are hypertensive. 160/100 mm of Hg puts you in the danger zone.
As far as your cholesterol goes, you want to avoid letting your LDL cholesterol rise above 100 mg/dl. Women should aim to keep their HDL cholesterol above 60 mg/dl while men should keep their HDL cholesterol above 50 mg/dl.
Healthy eating and your habits can be difficult to change. But if you do, it can make your diabetes management a lot easier. This doesn’t mean you have to go all out and stop eating everything unhealthy. Just start with some simple changes you can stick to like eating more vegetables and eating fewer candies from your candy stash.
Another great option for diabetics is a Mediterranean diet. It is delicious and can even help you reduce the risk of other chronic diseases.
Get up and move regularly. Exercise offers you benefits beyond weight loss alone. It can help you lower your cholesterol, your blood pressure while also helping you relax a little bit more easily. Even if include just 30 minutes of exercise in a day, you will find that you have more energy. That could be the just boost you need.
It’s easier said than done, I know that. But there are tons of great stress management techniques out there. Learning how to use them effectively can be beneficial for you and that will help your diabetes as well as your social interactions. You’re never going to totally avoid stress but the key is finding healthy outlets for it. Open up to family and friends or a support group about how you’re feeling. It’s important to be vulnerable sometimes with the people you trust, so they can make fun of you in a healthy way.
Exercise is another great stress management technique. It prompts your brain to release chemicals that will actually make you feel better. You heard me right. Your brain can get you high all by itself and it’s legal!
The importance of a positive attitude shouldn’t go unmentioned either. Focus on what’s good in your life more often and you might find that a lot of your stress will melt away. Be kind to yourself. This is essential to manage your diabetes and other stress in life.
Everyone hates swallowing pills or taking injections. But your doctor prescribes your medications for a reason. It’s not a prank, your diabetes medication, in particular, is crucial. They can help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke or kidney disease by helping you keep all your numbers under control.
This is especially important as you get older. Diabetes is a progressive disease, meaning the longer you have it the more treatment you will probably need to manage it. Take your prescribed medications consistently for the best results.
You’re responsible for scheduling your regular medical checkups. More importantly, you have to actually go to that appointment. Your doctor isn’t just some internet date you can just blow off by saying your dog is sick.
Life moves fast and you’re a busy person. When it comes to your health you have to make time. You only get one body. You cannot just avoid taking care of your body and then just go get another one. When it breaks down you cannot just replace it like your car. As a diabetic, you want to see your doctor at least every 3 months at a minimum.
This is for things like HbA1c checks and kidney function tests and other tests. Regular screenings and lab work will give you a better understanding of the current state of your health. It can help you manage your diabetes and maybe even reduce the number of medications you’re taking.
This will help you to identify problems and find solutions to manage your diabetes. Your body is going to change over time. It’s called aging and it’s happening to everyone in the world. Aging brings new problems along with it and it means you will have to constantly find new ways to manage your diabetes. Your endocrinologist is the best person to help you with it.
Your care plan should include daily blood sugar targets, your medications and why you’re taking them, your sick day plan, your goals for managing your diabetes, and of course your health care appointments including your ophthalmologists, podiatrists, and so on.
These things will all differ from person to person. That will probably change during your physician visits with time.
So these are ten ways to make living with diabetes just a little bit better. Living with diabetes doesn’t have to be as big of a burden as some people may think. If you find yourself a great endocrinologist and follow these tips, diabetes won’t impact your life any more than a slightly annoying neighbor.
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