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How to Manage Your Diabetes: 5 Tips

5 Tips to Manage Diabetes

Quality Self-Care Leads to a Healthier, Happier Life for Diabetics

Diabetes is a national epidemic, and if you’ve recently been diagnosed, learning to care for yourself will be a critical part of maintaining a healthy life.

According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are seven essential self-care behaviors in people with diabetes that predict good outcomes. They include:

  • healthy eating
  • physical activity
  • monitoring blood sugar
  • medication compliance
  • strong problem-solving skills
  • healthy coping skills
  • risk-reduction behaviors

These seven behaviors show a positive correlation to good sugar control, which improves overall quality of life.

Let’s take a closer look at five ways you can improve your self-care:

Treat your feet. Foot issues are a common problem for diabetics, and can lead to serious infection, and even amputation. According to Podiatry Today, “up to 25 percent of the diabetic population will have at least one foot ulceration during their lifetime with 85 percent of lower-limb amputations being preceded by an ulcer.” The good news is there are things you can do to reduce risk:

  • Examine your feet every day – Look for any problem spots before they get worse.
  • Practice good foot hygiene – Wash your feet daily, and follow with a talcum powder, which works to prevent infection.
  • Trim your toenails straight across – don’t trim corners, which can lead to infection.
  • Don’t go barefoot – Keep your feet protected with shoes and socks.
  • Keep the blood flowing in your feet – Put your feet up when sitting, and wiggle your toes and stretch your ankles throughout the day.

Drink responsibly. Before drinking any alcohol, diabetics should consult with their physician regarding potential drug and alcohol interactions. Aside from potential medication issues, alcohol can severely affect you blood sugar; drinking in moderation will cause it to rise, while excessive drinking can cause a dangerously low drop in blood sugar.

Give up smoking. According to the CDC, diabetics who smoke have a much more serious risk of health complications that can include heart and kidney disease, decreased blood flow to the legs and feet (leading to infection), eye disease, and nerve damage leading to numbness, pain and weakened coordination.

Eliminate stress. Over time, stress can have a negative impact on diabetics. Stress increases your hormone levels, and hormone levels are critical in the control of insulin. Check out these stress tips from the American Heart Association:

  • Positive self-talk
  • Daily relaxation
  • Find pleasure
  • Read a book
  • Take up a hobby
  • See an old friend
  • Stress stoppers
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Go for a walk
  • Break down large problems into smaller ones

Shed some pounds. The Mayo Clinic reports that losing weight can reduce the need for medication, and in some cases even cure Type II diabetes. Getting to a lower weight allows the pancreas to work more efficiently at regulating the body’s insulin. Talk to your doctor or health care practitioner about starting with these simple guidelines:

Eat More:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, and fish oils
  • High fiber foods, such as whole grains
  • High quality protein: fish, chicken, eggs and beans

Eat Less:

  • Deep-fried foods (trans fats)
  • Fast food
  • Packaged foods like baked goods and chips
  • Red meat
  • Low-fat products with added sugar

Diabetes is a complex disease, but your decisions and actions can make an enormous difference in how it affects you. Yes, you will likely need to make hard choices. That being said, educating yourself in the best ways to self-manage the disease will lead to a longer, healthier and better life.

This is a guest post by Lindsay Maynard. Lindsay’s mission is aligned with that of Public Health Corps, which is to provide reputable and useful public information on health topics.

If you have questions about diabetes and would like some help figuring out next steps, be sure to talk to your physician or health care practitioner. You can also call our office at 940-384-0393 if you have a hard time leaving your home and might need a nurse to come to your house. We can coordinate with your doctor to make sure you learn what you need to to manage your diabetes and live your best, healthiest life.

 

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