If you’ve been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Type 2 diabetes is a life-long medical condition where your body does not use insulin properly.
While there is no cure for diabetes, it’s comforting to know that there are several ways to manage type 2 diabetes.
It’s also important to remember that you’re among millions of people who live with type 2 diabetes every day. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of people living with diabetes.
Here, we share six tips to help you manage type 2 diabetes.
Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels Every Day
It’s easy to want to resist checking your blood sugar levels every day, but regular monitoring is crucial to manage type 2 diabetes.
Many factors can affect your blood glucose including:
- Activity Level
Unless you check your blood sugar regularly, you may not know whether your levels are steady or if they’re too high.
It’s a good idea to ask your doctor how often you need to check your blood sugar as well as what you can do if your readings are abnormal.
Take Diabetes Medication as Directed
Make sure to take your diabetes medication as directed by your doctor.
Diabetes symptoms are silent so if you have forgotten to take your medication you may not notice an immediate repercussion.
Untreated diabetes could potentially lead to heart disease, nerve damage, and other complications.
Therefore, it’s important to take medications or insulin as directed by your physician. If you experience uncomfortable side effects or have questions about your medication or treatment plan, talk with your doctor.
Keep Healthy Eating Habits to Manage Type 2 Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you should reduce your sugar intake, especially refined sugar as well as other forms of simple carbohydrates.
In addition to low-sugar foods, you should also eat a well balanced diet.
Your diet should include low-fat foods. Foods high in sodium, saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fat can elevate your risk for heart disease and stroke.
This doesn’t mean you have to avoid all fats. Eating foods rich in good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat) can help lower cholesterol levels.
Try to avoid foods such as red meat, processed food, and high fat diary products like cheese.
For example, you can replace the meat on your plate with omega-3 fatty acid-rich cold-water fish like salmon. Olive oil, avocado, and nuts are also good sources of this nutrient.
You can talk to your doctor or nutritionist for more healthy food options to better manage type 2 diabetes.
Exercising is also extremely important to manage type 2 diabetes.
Regular exercise can improve blood sugar control as well as your body’s response to insulin.
Studies show that all levels of exercise are beneficial, from moderate-intensity walking to high-intensity resistance training with weights.
Aim for 30 minutes of activity, five days per week. Find something you enjoy doing so that you’ll be motivated to do it on a regularly basis.
Quit Smoking If You’re a Smoker
If you smoke, you should quit immediately.
Smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes, and once you have it, smoking can make problems and complications associated with diabetes even worse.
This is because smoking raises blood-glucose levels, constricts blood vessels, as well as causes inflammation. Smokers can also have an increased risk of:
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Blood-vessel damage
- Foot and leg infections
Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation
If you drink alcohol, only drink in moderation.
Moderate drinking means having between one-half and two alcoholic drinks per day. Studies show moderate drinking can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. It seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and can protect against type 2 diabetes and gallstones.
However, for people who already have type 2 diabetes, there are some questions about the benefits of alcohol. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor to understand how alcohol might affect your blood-glucose levels.
Following the above mentioned tips can help manage type 2 diabetes. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor and then follow his or her advice.