How Lifestyle Affects Diabetes

If you or a loved one is living with diabetes, you likely know how important diet and medication are in the management of the disease. However, there are many things that are equally important to long-term good health for individuals who are treating the chronic illness, and the lifestyle that you lead can have a huge impact on how well your diabetes is controlled; it can affect your quality of life, and even the length of your life, in major ways. In addition to treatment options such as monitoring your blood glucose levels with the help of products like accu chek test strips or freestyle lancets, and administering your insulin—if your body requires it—with insulin pen needles or insulin syringes, you should be looking at other parts of your life to determine how best to live a healthier life with the disease.

Exercise is a vital component to the overall program of managing diabetes; Larry Bergstrom, of Mayo Clinic, explains, “Your skeletal muscle is an important area that uses blood sugar. So by using your muscles, it will take the blood sugar out of your blood to help you manage it.” Most guidelines recommend any sort of physical, regular aerobic exercise on a daily basis, paired with strength training workouts like weight lifting or exercise machines. As muscle mass increases in the body, the body’s sensitivity to insulin increases, and the ability of the body to use more of the glucose—rather than attempting to store it as fat, or letting it linger in the bloodstream, where it can cause damage—is also increased. Be careful when starting out a workout regimen, however; you should monitor your blood glucose levels more closely at first to get a sense of how exercise will impact your diet and the amount of medication you need. Check with the diabetic supply company of your choice for additional accu chek test strips or freestyle lancets, to make sure that you have enough to monitor more frequently.

Managing stress is also important for diabetics. High levels of stress impact diabetes in a number of ways; not only does high stress make it more likely that a patient will fail to adhere to diet, medication, and exercise routines, it also wreaks havoc on the body. Stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol also directly impact blood glucose levels, making treatment more unpredictable. Many doctors who work with diabetic patients recommend stress management and treatment of anxiety or depression with programs like medication, guided imagery biofeedback, and relaxation techniques. You may also want to join a diabetes support group if you’re having difficulties with your diagnosis; you’ll get to hear from other diabetics who are going through what you’re going through, and as an added bonus you may find out about alternatives you hadn’t considered, such as insulin pen needles instead of a vial and insulin syringe.

It is also vital to maintain your care of your eyes, skin (particularly your feet) and teeth. Scheduling regular eye and dental appointments gives you a good chance of catching any complications as they arise, and before they become major problems. If damage to your eyes has started, it’s vital that your doctor sees it quickly, before it progresses to a point where you lose your sight. Diabetics are also more prone to cavities and periodontitis, which is prevented by more-frequent dentist visits. In the midst of making sure that you’re taking care of yourself with the diabetic accessories you can get from the diabetic supply company of your choice, remembering that your best approach to care is a team-oriented one will keep you in great health.

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