Managing Your Lifestyle as a Diabetic
A diagnosis of diabetes can be a scary thing to face, whether it is you yourself who has been diagnosed, or a loved one such as a spouse, sibling, or child. However, it is important to keep in mind that it’s a disease that can be managed with the right diabetic supplies, and that while lifestyle changes may seem daunting at first, there are many options available now for diabetics to make the right choices. The best person to discuss your concerns with is your primary physician, who can help you to find the medical support you need to maintain the best possible lifestyle as a diabetic. However, while you will be on close terms with multiple medical professionals, the most important person in your health care team is you; for the best results, there are a few things that you can do on your own to make your lifestyle easier to manage.
The best and most important thing that you can do to manage your lifestyle as a diabetic is to eat a balanced diet. If you can afford to see a dietician to discuss what your meals should look like, that is an excellent step—however, if you are not able to afford it, there are multiple guides available for free online, and your medical provider will likely be able to provide you with general guidelines for how your meals should “look.” Generally speaking, eating a balanced diet means minimizing starchy foods such as pastas and rice and bread, as carbohydrates are turned into sugar by the body—but this doesn’t mean that you can’t have any. Look around online or in magazines to find tasty foods that fit into the diet you should have. Along with diet, it’s important that diabetics limit themselves to one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two per day for men; when drinking alcohol, make sure that you eat, and keep in mind that alcohol has calories.
Another important aspect to a healthy lifestyle as a diabetic is to exercise three to four times a week, for 20 to 40 minutes at each session. A regular exercise program can improve blood sugar levels as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease. Talk to your healthcare provider before you embark on this aspect of staying healthy however, particularly if you suffer from complications related to your diabetes, as there may be certain exercises that your doctor would advise against. Tell your doctor what kind of exercise you want to do, so adjustments can be made for your medicine and meal planning. It’s recommended that diabetics go for a mixture of aerobic and moderate exercise, with resistance training recommended for twice weekly sessions unless your doctor recommends against it.
Finally, pay attention to your skin, particularly your feet. Because of changes in internal chemistry related to diabetes, those with the disease are more prone to lingering skin infections, dry skin and premature aging. Check your feet daily for signs of a problem, such as cracks, redness, ulcerations, or pus. If you noticed any alarming changes in your feet, talk to a doctor as quickly as possible. Report signs of infection anywhere on your body to your physician so that you can be treated quickly.
Following these simple steps can help manage your lifestyle with diabetes and make it much more readily manageable. As with any ongoing lifestyle change, it’s a good idea to find a community of individuals with diabetes who can offer support and guidance.