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Healthy Living: How to Live with Diabetes


November is Diabetes Awareness Month, here are some helpful tips on how to live right and stay healthy while living with Diabetes. 

SELF-TESTING-

If you have diabetes, your doctor may tell you to regularly check your blood sugar levels at home. There are a number of devices available, and they use only a drop of blood. Self-monitoring tells you how well diet, medication, and exercise are working together to control your diabetes. It can help your doctor prevent complications.

The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping blood sugar levels in the range of:

  • 80 – 120 mg/dL before meals
  • 100 – 140 mg/dL at bedtime

Your doctor may adjust this depending on your circumstances. 

WHAT TO EAT-

You should work closely with your health care provider to learn how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you need in your diet. A registered dietician can help you plan your dietary needs.

People with type 1 diabetes should eat at about the same times each day and try to be consistent with the types of food they choose. This helps to prevent blood sugar from becoming extremely high or low.

People with type 2 diabetes should follow a well-balanced and low-fat diet. 

HOW TO TAKE MEDICATION-

Medications to treat diabetes include insulin and glucose-lowering pills called oral hypoglycemic drugs.

People with type 1 diabetes cannot make their own insulin. They need daily insulin injections. Insulin does not come in pill form. Injections are generally needed one to four times per day. Some people use an insulin pump. It is worn at all times and delivers a steady flow of insulin throughout the day. Other people may use inhaled insulin. See also: Type 1 diabetes

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes may respond to treatment with exercise, diet, and medicines taken by mouth. There are several types of medicines used to lower blood glucose in type 2 diabetes. See also: Type 2 diabetes.Medications may be switched to insulin during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Gestational diabetes may be treated with exercise and changes in diet. 

EXERCISE-

Regular exercise is especially important for people with diabetes. It helps with blood sugar control, weight loss, and high blood pressure. People with diabetes who exercise are less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those who do not exercise regularly.

Here are some exercise considerations:

  • Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse if you have the right footwear.
  • Choose an enjoyable physical activity that is appropriate for your current fitness level.
  • Exercise every day, and at the same time of day, if possible.
  • Monitor blood glucose levels before and after exercise.
  • Carry food that contains a fast-acting carbohydrate in case you become hypoglycemic during or after exercise.
  • Carry a diabetes identification card and a cell phone in case of emergency.
  • Drink extra fluids that do not contain sugar before, during, and after exercise.

You may need to change your diet or medication dose if you change your exercise intensity or duration to keep blood sugar levels from going too high or low. 

FOOT CARE-

People with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems. Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves and decrease the body’s ability to fight infection. You may not notice a foot injury until an infection develops. Death of skin and other tissue can occur.

If left untreated, the affected foot may need to be amputated. Diabetes is the most common condition leading to amputations.

To prevent injury to the feet, check and care for your feet every day.


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