How to Live With Diabetes and 5 Tips to Help Take Control of It
With nearly 1.5 million new cases of diabetes being diagnosed each year, it seems like a fairly common disease. While this may be true, it doesn't make a living with diabetes any easier.
Common symptoms include excessive thirst, slow wound healing, and extreme fatigue. In more severe cases, patients may experience heart disease, kidney failure, and loss of sight and hearing.
Do you know someone who's struggling to learn how to live with diabetes? We're here to offer five helpful tips on coping, including treatment and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
1. Change Your Diet
Diabetes causes your blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise and fall at drastic rates. In some cases, theses spikes and drops in blood sugar are controlled through diet alone.
People with diabetes should limit their sugar intake by avoiding drinks and food high in sugar and fat, including cakes, cookies, bread, pasta, and even some fruits.
Opt for whole-grain bread and pasta, vegetables, and lean meats and proteins. Not only will these foods help control your glucose levels but may also lead to weight loss, which can significantly improve your condition.
Obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes. Adopting a healthy diet will improve your condition in more ways than one.
2. Exercise Regularly
In addition to healthy eating, exercise is another way to help control and live with diabetes.
The good news is, even mild exercise like walking and bike riding a few days a week can help balance glucose levels. Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and keep them within a healthy range.
Engage in activities where you work up a slight sweat and elevate your heart rate.
3. Follow Doctor's Orders
Those living with diabetes need to stay up to date on all doctor appointments and follow doctor's orders. This includes taking prescription medications and making recommended lifestyle changes.
Those at risk for diabetes need to see a doctor twice a year for regular check-ups. Doctors, nurses, and in-home health aids can monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Monitoring these vitals help patients recognize symptoms of on-set diabetes. Routine eye and hearing exams are also crucial in elderly patients.
4. Reduce Stress
It's no secret that stress can negatively impact your help. This fact is important when deciding how to live with diabetes because stress causes your blood sugar to spike.
In addition to the physical effects, increased stress also makes it challenging to manage your diabetes mentally. You may forget to take your medication because you're overwhelmed. Stress can also cause you to overeat and binge on unhealthy foods.
Try stress-reducing hobbies like yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises.
5. Kick Bad Habits
Living with diabetes isn't just about adopting healthy habits -- it's also about kicking unhealthy ones like smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in excess.
People with diabetes are already at risk for developing medical conditions, including heart disease, nerve damage, and stroke. Smoking increases these risks.
Alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to both rise and drop unexpectedly. People with diabetes should limit alcohol consumption to only one or two drinks per day depending on age, gender, and severity of the condition.
Knowing How to Live With Diabetes is About Being Proactive
Millions of people are living with diabetes, and millions more are diagnosed every day. Taking preventative measures and treating your condition correctly are the first steps in how to live with diabetes.
If your loved one or patient is struggling to manage their condition, these tips can help. You can also view our full list of services here.
In-home caregivers can help people with diabetes and other chronically ill patients lead a safe and healthy life. Contact us today to learn more.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.