Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a vital part of your life. Even with prior knowledge of already existing diseases or conditions, keeping tabs on your state and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will benefit any individual from developing further complications. If you are a person with diabetes or have a loved one with diabetes, encouraging yourself and them to stay healthy is an excellent way to prolong one’s life.
In order to stay healthy, it’s important to understand what diabetes is and how it can impact your life.
Diabetes Causes and Types
Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes the abnormally high level of blood sugar in your body. Glucose is an essential part of our diet because it acts as fuel or energy for the cells and organs in our bodies to function. We get glucose from the food we eat daily. Diabetes can either be acquired genetically or when your body stops producing insulin or starts resisting it. One sure sign of having diabetes is if your hemoglobin A1c level is at 6.5% or higher, compared to the normal range which is between 4% to 5.6%.
There are two common types of diabetes:
- Type 1
Type 1 diabetes is when an individual’s pancreas does not produce insulin. It is still unknown to researchers as to why the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed among children and teens. People with this type of diabetes are insulin-dependent, meaning they need to take insulin shots every day to maintain a normal blood sugar level.
- Type 2
Type 2 diabetes is when an individual’s body does not properly respond to the production of its insulin. The pancreas produces more insulin that their body does not process properly, accumulating glucose and resulting in hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes can be developed regardless of age and is more common in adults. Similar to Type 1 diabetes, researchers are also unsure as to how Type 2 diabetes develops but hypothesize that environmental factors can contribute to its development.
Some common symptoms of diabetes are increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, unexplained and unintended weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision,slow and poor healing of wounds. Some specific symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are numb and tingly feeling of hands and feet and Acanthosis nigricans, or development of dark, velvety skin on the armpits, neck, and groin.
It is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid developing severe complications. Some complications that people with diabetes can develop are heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, and foot problems if left unchecked.
Lifestyle Tips for Diabetes Patients
Studying the disease and knowing how it thrives in your body helps you in finding out how to control it and not let it control you. One important thing that enables you to manage diabetes is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making sure that you monitor your health, activities, and nutrition religiously.
Here are some tips on how to stay healthy, even with diabetes:
1. Keep an eye on your blood sugar
Keeping an eye on your blood sugar helps you gauge your body’s current condition. One type of test offered is the hemoglobin A1C test. The hemoglobin A1C test measures how much glucose is coating the hemoglobin, a carrier protein in your bloodstream that transports oxygen throughout your body. The higher the score you get from the test, the poorer control your body has over your blood sugar levels. If all of this is too much for you to understand, My Medical Score Target offers an interpretation of your A1C test score.
Make sure that the monitoring your blood sugar levels is by your doctor.
2. Steer away from vices like smoking and drinking
Drinking can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels because of the sugars and carbohydrates present in drinks. Excess consumption of alcoholic beverages can also cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Poor food choices can also be caused by the increased appetite, accompanied by an affected sense of decision-making.
Smoking is a dangerous vice in general but combined with diabetes; it is deadly.Smokers with diabetes are more likely to have a harder time controlling their disease. Indulging in vices can put you in a worse situation; avoid smoking and drinking to have better control over your health.
3. Control your diet
Eat right by choosing the right kinds of food and limiting how much of those you consume. It is a good idea to keep an eye on what type of food you are encouraged to eat and what kind of food you should avoid. Look for healthy fats present in fish oil and nuts, try to consume fiber-rich cereals and whole grain bread, choose lean protein foods, and stick to snacks and meals that are low in saturated fat.
Carbohydrates are one type of food that you should keep an eye on because it breaks down into glucose faster than other types. Sweetened food and beverages are another type people with diabetes should avoid. One misconception about people with diabetes is that they are not allowed to eat food with sugar. People with diabetes can eat their favorite sweets or food as long as they do not exceed the limit and control their consumption.
Another critical thing to look out for is your portion control. Avoid eating big meals in one sitting. It is recommended to control your portions, most especially with foods high in carbohydrates, fats, sodium, and calories. Eat smaller and more regular meals throughout the day to keep your level in check.
Engaging in moderate physical activity keeps your body healthy. The two recommended types of exercises for people with diabetes are:
- Aerobic exercises that get your heart pumping to deliver oxygenated blood throughout your body.
- Resistance exercises that help train your muscles to be stronger.
If you’re too busy to hit the gym or aren’t comfortable exercising with other people, exercising in the comforts of your homeis always an option to staying physically active.
Living with diabetes should not hinder you from going about your everyday life. Educating yourself about diabetes and how it affects you and people with it arms you with the right information about how you can help yourself and your loved ones with diabetes. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you control your diabetes and not let diabetes control you.