Friday, December 12, 2014

Managing your sugar: How to improve your lifestyle

If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, there's a lot you can do to improve your health — and the best place to start is by changing your lifestyle. The secret to managing diabetes doesn't come in a pill. In most cases, these simple lifestyle changes will do the trick.

Basic principles of good health like eating right, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can be as effective as medicine in the management of diabetes for most people. 

If you're ready to make positive changes to help control diabetes, here's how to get started.

Improve Your Diet - To help manage your blood glucose levels, you need to control the number of calories you eat each day. But you don't have to give up taste and satisfaction! Work closely with your doctor, nurse, and dietitian to learn how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you need in your diet. Your meal plans should fit your lifestyle and habits and should include foods that you like.

Exercise regularly - Exercise is essential for losing weight and controlling your blood glucose. Even small increases in physical activity can help. Reasons why exercise is good for your health:

Lowers your blood sugar level without medicine
Burns extra calories and fat to help manage your weight
Improves blood flow and blood pressure
Increases your energy level
Improves your ability to handle stress 

Accept your feelings - Studies show that people who acknowledge negative feelings about their diabetes are less capable of caring for themselves and keeping glucose levels stable. Avoiding negative thoughts and feelings about diabetes, like worrying about what to eat, can bring on stress. 

Maintain a balanced perspective - Don't allow diabetes to become your main focus; the disease doesn't have to define you. You're the same person you were before your diagnosis, so continue to do things you enjoy as you learn to live well with your disease.

Be realistic - Rules that are too rigid are more likely to be broken. Set small goals that are easily attainable like walking for 10 minutes a day and slowly building up to 30 minutes or more over several weeks to increase your exercise. These strategies can have a dramatic impact on blood sugar levels and the progression of diabetes. Simple lifestyle changes will improve how you feel today, and help ensure a healthier future. 

Prof. A. Ramachandran
MD., Ph.D., D.Sc., FRCP (Lond.), FRCP (Edin), MNAMS., FICP.,
President, India Diabetes Research Foundation,
Chairman, Dr. A. Ramachandran's Diabetes Hospitals 

References: 1)5 ways to beat type 2 diabetes [online]. Accessed from URL: Accessed on 27th October 2014.
2)Type 2 diabetes [online]. Accessed from URL: Accessed on 27th October 2014.
3)Taking control of your diabetes [online]. Accessed from URL: Accessed on 27th October 2014.

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