With over 25 million adults diagnosed in the U.S. alone, it’s safe to say that everyone is related to or at least knows someone with diabetes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this chronic condition once it’s been diagnosed. However, it’s highly manageable with a positive outlook. As long as individuals follow their doctor’s instructions and take steps to manage their disease, they can continue to live normal, fulfilling lives with diabetes. Here are three tips for healthily managing diabetes.
Tips on Living with Diabetes
- Cut Back on Alcohol
Most healthcare providers will emphasize healthy eating habits and the importance of limiting sugar intake. While alcoholic beverages don’t exactly count as food, they can be a hidden source of sugar. Also, the sugar content in an alcoholic beverage can be difficult to determine, making it easier to consume more sugar than one realizes. According to the American Diabetes Association, women should have a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day, and men should have a maximum of two. They also encourage people with diabetes to regularly go for several days without consuming alcohol.
- Use Medical Equipment Safely
Some patients may prefer using an insulin pump to deliver their diabetes medication. While an insulin pump can offer more convenience than the injection method, it requires regular monitoring to ensure it works correctly. Another aspect of safe pump use is choosing the proper infusion set depending on one’s “height, site location, daily activities, and other preferences,” according to the experts at Tandem Diabetes. For example, if the patient is using an insulin pump, you must change the infusion set every two or three days to minimize the risk of developing an infection under the skin.
- Exercise Often
Everybody could benefit from exercising more. For diabetes, it carries the benefit of naturally lowering blood sugar and helping the body use insulin more effectively. It can also help lower stress levels, burn calories to prevent weight gain, and increase circulation of oxygenated blood cells, all of which play a role in controlling diabetes. Another benefit of exercise is the prevention of heart disease, which people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing in their lifetime. To gain the most benefit from exercise, everybody should aim to engage in at least 30 minutes of activity on most days. Walking, bicycling, or outdoor gardening are some ways an individual can choose to be active daily.
Bonus: Check Your Glucose
A large part of diabetes management is checking one’s own glucose levels. Daily monitoring allows the patient to figure out how their blood sugar changes after eating, exercising or sleeping, leading to a greater understanding of how diabetes affects them. It also ensures that the diet plan, medications, or equipment are all working correctly to control diabetes.
Diabetes is a severe illness, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to treat. So if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, consult your doctor about the best way to manage it. See which treatment fits your lifestyle and gives potential results.