Diabetes lifestyle management plan- 5 lifestyle changes to keep in mind to lead a healthier life
November 19, 2021
When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, there would be so many questions that pop into their minds. Some say, consume wheat while others advice to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates. Diabetes management is one of the most subjective topics and requires a lot of awareness to follow the right routine, which differs from person to person. Diabetic patients must know what makes their blood sugar rise and fall and how to control these with a daily lifestyle. Here are a few daily routines that make life easier for diabetic patients.
Healthy eating is a keystone of healthy living whether or not one has diabetes. In terms of healthy eating, it is essential to know how food affects the blood level of sugar. It’s not only the type of food you eat but also how much you eat and the combinations of food types you eat.
- Plan every meal to be well balanced as much as possible with a good mix of starches, fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats. Some carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are better for you than others. Food that is low in carbohydrates and has fibre helps keep the blood sugar levels more stable. It is also good to talk to the doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and the appropriate balance of food types.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages tend to be high in calories and offer very little nutrition. It is best to avoid these types of drinks as they tend to cause blood sugar to rise quickly
Physical activity is another important part of a diabetic’s lifestyle plan. Exercising helps muscles use the sugar (glucose) for energy and regular physical activity also helps the body use insulin more efficiently. These factors work together in lowering the blood sugar level. The more strenuous the workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods can improve blood sugar.
- Make sure to maintain an exercise schedule and talk to the doctor or fitness trainer to suggest a pattern that correlates with the diet and medicines. If a person is inactive for a very long time, it is ideal to get an overall check-up before proceeding with the exercise schedule.
- Check the blood sugar level before, during and after exercise, especially if a person takes insulin or medications that lower blood sugar. Exercise can lower the blood sugar levels even up to a day later. This is especially true if the activity is new to that particular person, or in the case of exercising at a more intense level. Be aware of warning signs of low blood sugar, such as feeling shaky, weak, tired, hungry, lightheaded, irritable, anxious or confused.
Dehydration and diabetes often go hand in hand. Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, creating extra sugar in your blood resulting in the kidneys working overtime to filter and absorb the excess sugar. Drinking plenty of water or other fluids and staying hydrated help in keeping diabetes at bay.
4. Manage stress
The hormones that the body produces in response to prolonged stress may cause a rise in the blood sugar level. Additionally, it may be harder to closely follow the usual diabetes management routine if a person is under a lot of extra pressure. Once a person knows how stress affects the blood sugar level, he/she can combat this stress by learning relaxation techniques, prioritizing the tasks and setting limits. Exercise can also help relieve stress and lower your blood sugar level.
5. Menstruation and Menopause
Changes in hormone levels the week before and during menstruation can result in significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
- Look for patterns and keep track of blood sugar readings from month to month. This will make it easier for one to identify the fluctuation in blood sugar levels and adjust the diabetes treatment plan as needed. The doctor may recommend changes in the meal plan, activity level or diabetes medications to make up for blood sugar variation.
- Checking blood sugar more frequently is one of the ways of leading a healthier life with diabetes. If the woman is likely to be approaching menopause or experiencing menopause, talk to the doctor about whether she needs to monitor her blood sugar levels more often. Symptoms of menopause can sometimes be confused with symptoms of low blood sugar, so whenever possible, it is ideal to check the blood sugar before treatment.