According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million Americans have diabetes. Furthermore, out of this figure, 90% to 95% have type 2 diabetes.
Although diabetes does not have a cure, being diagnosed with it is not the end. You can manage the disease, but that will call for a significant lifestyle overhaul. That includes changing the way you eat and even how you spend your time.
Here are a few ideas to help you fight against diabetes.
- Losing Weight
Managing your weight is an integral part of how to keep your blood sugar low and fight type 2 diabetes. Losing bodyweight does not mean you need to shed a lot of pounds. In fact, losing five to seven percent of your total body weight goes a long way in reducing your type 2 diabetes risk.
Additionally, where your body weight centers around is essential. Abdominal fat typically increases insulin resistance, which then drives up your risk level. A regular aerobics regimen can help you whittle away body fat distributed around your stomach so that there is less insulin resistance.
- Exercising Regularly
Developing a regular exercise regimen to help you combat type 2 diabetes should not just focus on shedding your weight. Many people do not seem to know that you can still reduce your level of risk without losing one pound.
Physical activity helps your muscles contract. These contractions end up pushing glucose out of your blood and into your body cells. That then enables your body to consume the blood sugar and keep you healthy.
Some exercises you can consider here include walking, and a high-intensity interval training such as jogging.
- Controlling Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is whereby you stop breathing temporarily as you sleep, and it is prevalent among those with type 2 diabetes and are also overweight. Such people are at risk of diabetes complications like strokes and heart attacks.
Studies show that in sleep apnea, the sympathetic nervous system’s activation is the underlying cause that can lead to higher chances of strokes and heart attacks. Thus, you can use a special device when sleeping to manage sleep apnea. Alternatively, you can undergo surgery if your case is severe.
- Managing Stress
Have you ever thought that stress can play a part in exacerbating type 2 diabetes? When you manage stress poorly, it makes it harder to control your blood sugar. Additionally, poor stress management means that you don’t sleep well. A lack of adequate sleep has the potential to lead to impaired glucose tolerance.
Aside from sleeping a minimum of six hours as the National Sleep Foundation recommends, you should go to bed at the same time every night. Other habits that can help you sleep better include yoga and deep breathing before going to bed to help you rest better.
- Watch Your Diet
Your diet is a major contributor to your fight against type 2 diabetes. You need to focus on a diet that consists of fruits, non-starchy vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat (or fat-free) dairy products.
Furthermore, you need to keep a close eye on avoiding high glycemic index foods, which tend to be processed. These foods typically contain white sugar and floor that can raise your glucose levels.
You should also avoid fast foods, and if you can’t, then at least limit your intake. Doing so will help you manage the effect of trans fats, sodium, and refined carbohydrates on your body weight and heart.
- Control Your Portions
While watching what you eat is instrumental in fighting type 2 diabetes, watching how you eat also plays an essential role.
You should make it a habit to avoid serving large food portions, especially if you are overweight. Large portions tend to cause you to eat more, which leads to higher insulin and blood sugar levels.
Adopt smaller plates that can help you better regulate the portions you take. Large plates tend to make the amount of food look smaller than it is, increasing the probability that you might end up consuming more.
- Get More Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a critical part in blood sugar control. According to results from a particular study, people with the highest level of vitamin D have a 43% less probability of developing type 2 diabetes.
As a result, you need to develop habits that help you keep your vitamin D levels up. Many health organizations recommend sustaining a vitamin D level of at least 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l).
- Take Your Medication Regularly
Developing a habit of regularly taking your medicine seems deceptively simple, but it is a crucial tactic in managing type 2 diabetes. If you fail to take your medication as the doctor has prescribed you:
- Risk making your complications harder to treat
- Risk increasing the likelihood of early mortality
- Make it more expensive to manage the diabetes
One method you can use to help you develop a positive adherence habit is to grow a support system. Friends, family, and other support group members can help you stick to your medication routine, which helps control the disease.
- Quit Smoking
There are no two ways about it; if you want to manage type 2 diabetes better, you need to stop smoking. If you do so, you will gain better control over your blood sugar levels.
If you have type 2 diabetes and continue smoking, you will experience poor blood flow to your legs and feet. Consequently, you might start developing ulcers and other infections, not to mention the possible amputation of your toes or feet.
- Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Are you taking insulin or using oral diabetes medicines? Then drinking alcohol will cause your blood sugar level to fall to dangerous lows. That’s because once you consume alcohol, your liver focuses on eliminating it from your blood instead of regulating your blood sugar.
Furthermore, it’s easy to confuse symptoms of low blood sugar with drunkenness, and that puts you at risk.
Make Progress in Your Fight against Diabetes
Diabetes among Americans is at a relatively high level, with most having type 2 diabetes. Since the disease has no cure, you must learn how to manage it best so that you can have a better quality of life. Be open to changing your lifestyle habits to better fight against diabetes.
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