If you have been given a diagnosis of diabetes, your primary care physician has probably told you that the cure isn’t to be found in a pill. There are, however, many lifestyle adaptations you can make to improve your overall health.
Strategy 1: Get Educated.
Learning all you can about diabetes is the first step. The three main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1 diabetes: the body does not make insulin and you must take insulin every day.
- Type 2 diabetes: the body doesn’t use insulin well and you may need to take insulin.
- Gestational diabetes: some women get this when they become pregnant.
Your chronic care management team is there to guide you, but you must take an active role in your own treatment as well. There are many people you probably already know who can answer questions you may have, such as your dentist, eye doctor, foot doctor, pharmacist and even friends and family.
Taking classes from your local hospital, health clinic, library or joining a support group can help bolster your confidence in dealing with your diabetes. Finding online resources such as https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/communication-programs/ndep can also help.
Strategy 2: Learn To Cope.
Feelings of anger, resentment and sadness can overwhelm when you’re hit with a diagnosis of diabetes, but working with your family physician will help you find ways to cope.
Your chronic care management team can help you in deciding what treatment options will work best for you. When you take care of your diabetes you will not only have more energy, you will have less chance of heart attack or stroke, less teeth, gum and eye problems, be less thirsty and also feel less fatigued.
Ask your primary care physician what type of diabetes you have and learn all the ways you can assist in your own care and healing.
Strategy 3: Get To Know The Diabetes ABCs.
A is for A1C test. This measures your blood sugar levels over time. Keeping your blood sugar levels at a desirable level is important for your eyes, feet, kidneys, heart and blood vessels.
B is for Blood Pressure. Keeping within a normal range is essential. When your blood pressure gets to high you can have a heart attack or stroke which can cause damage to your kidneys or eyes.
C is for Cholesterol. Your blood has two types of cholesterol. LDL is the “bad” type and HDL is the “good” type. Be sure to ask your chronic care management team what your cholesterol numbers should be.
Strategy 4: Eat A Healthy Diet.
Your chronic care management team will help you choose a meal plan that is right for you.
You will learn how to make healthy choices such as choosing water over juice or soda and learning which foods have more healthy fiber, less calories, sugar and salt.
Strategy 5: Get Moving!
Your family physician will tell you that, last but not least, is getting exercise into your daily routine.
Not only can exercise help you to maintain your weight, it’s excellent for keeping a positive mental state.
You don’t have to run marathons to be healthy. You can walk, do light yoga or tai chi and even gardening is good. The secret is to find an activity you enjoy and will look forward to doing on a regular basis. Making exercise a part of your life is key to your self-care.