Millions of Americans today have diabetes and many more have prediabetes, sometimes unaware of their condition. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that breaks down insulin cells in the pancreas. Those with Type 1 diabetes need to be treated medically with insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more common. It occurs when the body stops being sensitive to the rise and fall of insulin. Though traditionally the elderly have been the primary group affected, diabetes is now on the rise among young people due to obesity. If your doctor determines you have diabetes, there are steps you will need to take to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Keep Track of Glucose:
Keeping track of your glucose is essential. Though some people resist keeping track of their glucose levels, monitoring it daily is the only way to ensure that you are aware of changes in your blood. If not, you may not know if your glucose levels are out of control. If they are abnormal, check in with your doctor about what to do. If you begin taking diabetes medication, glucose monitoring is the only sure way to track its progress. While you may not notice your diabetes symptoms, they are still affecting your body in serious ways, which means that you must focus on taking your medications as directed by your doctor. Some people decide against taking prescribed medicine for diabetes, but those people run the serious risk of heart disease, nerve damage, and many other conditions.
This is an obvious one with any health condition. Exercising is a good way of keeping your lifestyle healthy while managing your diabetes. Exercise helps decrease body fat and promotes weight loss. Furthermore, even if you aren’t exercising to lose weight, physical activity will help improve your blood-sugar control and helps prevent heart disease. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise—three days per week. Studies show that all levels of exercise are beneficial, all the way from moderate, to high intensity. It is important to stay consistent.
If you are a smoker with diabetes now is the time to quit. Smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes in people who may not otherwise have developed it. Smoking can raise your blood-glucose level while constricting your blood vessels, which causes inflammation. People who smoke are also at risk for kidney disease, nerve damage, blood-vessel damage, and foot or leg infections. Many people gain weight after they quit smoking, so monitor your eating habits closely when you quit. Along the same lines, it is suggested that you drink alcohol only in moderation or not at all. Drinking can cause negative effects on people with diabetes. Check in with your doctor about safe levels of alcohol for you.
Brush and Floss your Teeth Regularly:
This may seem like an odd one, but with higher glucose levels in your saliva, diabetes can eat away your teeth and gums. People with diabetes are more at risk for tooth decay and infections in your gums. See your dentist regularly and brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
Pay Attention to your Feet:
Diabetes can cause nerve damage in your extremities, especially your feet. The key to foot care is to keep your feet clean and dry. It is suggested to wash your feet daily with warm water and dry them with a soft towel. Avoid soaking your feet in hot water for prolonged periods of time. If your feet have nerve damage, you’re less likely to notice blisters, swelling, bruising, or your skin breaking. Pay attention to your feet and inspect them on a regular basis. Never walk barefoot, but always with shoes or slippers even in your home. If you experience any issues with your feet such as bruising or infections, consult your doctor as soon as possible.