Many people think that a diagnosis of diabetes is like a life sentence, introducing several restrictions in their lives and putting them at risk of many complications. The truth is, there are many diabetics who manage the condition very well and live normal, healthy, and happy lives. The key is to fully understand the condition and educate yourself about how to manage it. We are going to look at the steps that you can take to improve your ability to manage your diabetes and get back to enjoying life.
Key Statistics On Diabetes
In the United States, an estimated 11.3% of the population has diabetes. This includes statistics for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Among these, an estimated 23% are not currently diagnosed, which means they are unknowingly living with the condition.
The statistics are even higher when looking at prediabetes, which generally includes insulin resistance. As much as 38% of the population is expected to be prediabetic.
Not knowing you have diabetes can lead to more serious complications down the line, as the symptoms you notice may already mean damage was dealt to your body. This is why one of the first steps to managing diabetes is to ensure you recognize the signs and get a diagnosis as early as possible.
Recognizing The Signs
An important factor to consider is the fact that early on with diabetes, the symptoms may be very mild and not noticeable. You may notice some fatigue or other symptoms, but you fail to link them to the possibility of diabetes.
Even though the symptoms are often very subtle, recognizing them is important. This can help to ensure you implement appropriate strategies at an early phase of diabetes and possibly prevent the condition from worsening.
Some of the most common symptoms that people experience when they have diabetes include:
- Vision may be blurry
- You find yourself thirsty most of the time
- You urinate more frequently
- A tingling sensation in your feet or hands
- Gums that are swollen and red
- You feel hungry more often
- You regularly experience fatigue
- Weight loss that is not expected
When you notice these symptoms, it is important to consult with a doctor. They can do a few tests to determine if you are insulin resistant or have developed diabetes.
Management Strategies For Diabetes
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is important to ensure you manage the condition properly. With the right management protocols implemented, your risk of experiencing serious complications is considerably reduced. In this section, we take a closer look at strategies that you can use to manage your diabetes well.
Blood Glucose Monitoring
One of the very first things that you should understand when it comes to diabetes management is blood glucose monitoring. When you have diabetes, your chances of experiencing both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are significantly increased.
With hyperglycemia, your blood sugar levels rise too much. Hypoglycemia is the opposite, which refers to a situation where your glucose levels fall below the recommended levels.
Research shows that regularly monitoring your blood glucose level, as a diabetic, is crucial. This is important for both your own safety and your well-being. This particular process involves getting a blood glucose monitoring device that you can use at home.
You can then regularly test your glucose levels to monitor for unexpected changes and report them to your doctor. You can also use the monitoring as a way to make adjustments to your routine to help keep your glucose levels more stable.
What you eat and drink can have a major impact on how well you are able to manage your diabetes. If your diet involves a significant amount of carbohydrates and sugars, then it is going to increase your blood glucose levels. This is why you should carefully assess your diet. There is no need to be too restrictive, as having something to treat yourself now and then is fine. Moderation, however, is a key factor that you need to take into account here.
Your body turns carbohydrates into sugars, which are then sent into your bloodstream. Thus, the more carbs you consume on a daily basis, the higher your glucose levels will be. While you shouldn’t completely eliminate carbs from your diet, except if you are looking at an option like the keto diet, you should try to limit your carbohydrate intake. Additionally, turn to complex carbohydrates and low GI foods, as these foods slowly release sugars into your bloodstream. This helps to prevent sudden spikes in your glucose levels.
Some of the healthiest foods that diabetics can add to their diet include:
- Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna
- Chia seeds
- Leafy green vegetables
- Greek / plain yogurt
- Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
- Apple cider vinegar
The Importance Of Physical Activity
Diabetes can make you feel fatigued and tired, but this should not be an excuse to follow a sedentary lifestyle. Being physically active can produce a large number of potential benefits for you if you have diabetes. With this said, you do need to be careful to ensure you are able to prevent severe hypoglycemia during your physical activities.
Start slow and try to learn what works for you. It is a good idea to have a protein-rich snack before you work out. This can help to give you that extra glucose you need for the workout routine, while also filling you up and providing your muscles with useful amino acids.
The main aim is for about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and at least two sessions of your favorite strength training activities every week.
Diabetes does not have to restrict your ability to do the things you love or eat your favorite foods. There are several strategies that you can turn to if you want to improve your ability to manage diabetes effectively, but the first step is to get diagnosed. Lifestyle changes can make a considerable impact on diabetes management, helping to improve blood glucose regulation and reduce your chances of complications.