3 Steps to Controlling Your Diabetes
If you have diabetes, it is vital that you keep your blood sugar levels within the doctor recommended range. Controlling your diabetes will leave you less susceptible to common diabetes symptoms and future health issues. Put yourself in the best possible position by following these three steps:
1) Monitor Your Food Intake
This is perhaps the most important step you can take toward controlling your diabetes. Food has the ability to dramatically affect your blood sugar levels. Eating the right types of foods in the right amounts can ensure that you are within your healthy range.
Be sure to balance your meals with fruits, vegetables and proteins. Try to limit your carbohydrate intake when possible as these foods tend to raise blood sugar levels when eaten in large portions. If possible, cut sugary drinks from your diet. Soda, juice and even some coffee drinks are often filled with sugar.
If you need new meal ideas, take advantage of the CDC’s diabetes online cookbook.
2) Get Regular Exercise
The human body uses glucose during exercise and often begins to use insulin more efficiently. With your doctor’s permission, try to get 30 minutes of daily exercise. In order to see long term improvements, consistency is key. Try to get yourself into a routine. Go before or after work and simply make it another part of your day.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and check your blood sugar levels before you begin working out. If your levels are low, you may begin to feel light headed after a few minutes of activity. In these instances, eat a small snack to raise your blood sugar to get within the optimal range.
3) Use Medication Properly
If you begin to improve your diet and exercise regularly, you will need to work closely with your doctor to make the proper adjustments. Your physician may recommend lowering your dose of medication, especially if insulin is taken. They may also recommend that you begin to take insulin after your workout. Do not make any adjustments to your medication levels or schedule without consulting a doctor.
The Benefits of Controlling Diabetes
Controlling diabetes will show benefits both in the short and long term. After a few weeks of keeping your blood sugar within the ideal range, you may notice:
- Increased energy
- Less frequent urination
- Decreased thirst
- Fewer skin infections
If diabetes in controlled over a long period of time, there is a decreased risk of:
- Heart attacks / stroke
- Eyesight loss
- Tingling or pain in extremities
- Damage to the teeth and gums
- Kidney damage
There are even more steps you can take to manage your diabetes, but this is a great start! Before making any changes to your lifestyle, please contact Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center by calling (716) 278-4000.