How to Manage Your Diabetes

Tips for Living Well with Diabetes

More than 37 million Americans live with diabetes every day.

Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to reduce its impact on your life and give you the freedom to do the things that matter most to you.

Here are some of the most effective ways to manage your diabetes:

1. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

What you eat can have a major impact on your blood sugar levels. Foods that have a low glycemic index are better for those with diabetes because they don’t cause as big a spike in blood sugar.

Not sure what counts as a low (or medium) glycemic food? Generally speaking, the less processed the better.

Here are some example foods to keep in mind:

  • Leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Legumes like beans and lentils
  • Whole grains like brown rice and oats

Do your best to avoid foods that are highly processed. Pizza, white bread, candies and sugary drinks are among the worst culprits when it comes to raising blood sugar levels. It might sound like a big change, but even passing on the sweets a handful of times per week can have a huge impact on your health.

2. Get Regular Exercise

Exercising is one of the best ways to help you manage your diabetes. Not only can it help you lose weight and reduce stress — both of which are major contributors to diabetes complications — it can also mean your insulin injections will be more effective and you’ll be able to better plan your days around your meals.

You don’t have to train like an Olympian to see the benefits of weekly exercise. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends all adults living with a chronic condition, including type 2 diabetes, get between 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise (roughly three to five one-hour workout sessions) each week. An evening jog or morning walk here and there might be all it takes to see a big difference.

3. Reduce Stress

Stress is your body’s natural response to challenging circumstances. It signals to your brain that something’s wrong and action is needed.

However, the hormones that create the stress response, including adrenaline and cortisol, can negatively impact the effectiveness of your body’s insulin response. There is a link between stress and high blood sugar levels.

Managing stress is easier said than done, but there are a few small habits you can start practicing that will go a long way toward controlling stress. These include:

  • Getting outside
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Journaling
  • Meeting with a therapist

Talk to your doctor if you are overwhelmed by your stress.

4. Don’t Skip Your Medications

Depending on the nature and severity of your condition, doctors might prescribe any number of medications to help you manage your diabetes.

Your prescriptions are personalized to give you more control over the various aspects of your specific condition, so it’s important you take your medications as prescribed so they have the intended effect.

Sticking to recommended dosages and medication schedules as best as possible is one of the simplest steps you can take to improve your quality of life.

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your prescription medications.

Living Well With Diabetes

Millions of people with diabetes live happy and healthy lives. By making the appropriate lifestyle changes, you can manage your condition and take control of your life.

This content is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.