According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 84.1 million have been diagnosed with prediabetes. If you’re one of them, it’s important that you’re equipped with strategies and lifestyle modifications to manage your diabetes along with clinical treatment.
Dr. Shawn Veiseh at University Executive Physical Program specializes in treating diabetes and can give you the tools you need to improve your diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses sugar or glucose in your blood. Glucose is an important source of energy for your muscles and fuel for brain function. Your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin that helps the glucose enter your cells to power your body.
Too much sugar in your blood is the main cause of diabetes. Since there’s an excess of glucose, you either can’t process it all or not efficiently enough, which leads to health problems. There are a couple of different types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
With type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks your pancreas, destroying your ability to produce insulin and use the sugar in your blood. Genetic and environmental factors are the main causes of Type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is different in that it can be predicted and even prevented if you’re diagnosed with prediabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, that means your cells have become resistant to insulin, and you can’t make enough insulin to overcome the resistance. Glucose saturates your blood rather than fueling your body. Although not all who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight, your weight can cause you to develop type 2 diabetes.
How to treat your diabetes
Whether you’ve lived with diabetes your whole life or have just been diagnosed, lifestyle changes are vital to managing and improving your diabetes. Here are a few things Dr. Veiseh suggests you do to make living with diabetes better.
Exercising and eating healthy is a good idea for everyone, but it’s especially necessary if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. If you exercise for even 30 minutes a day, you help to bring down your blood sugar levels. You don’t have to turn into a gym rat overnight. Start slowly with exercises you’re comfortable with, like a brisk walk, light jog, or swimming. Talk with Dr. Veiseh for a list of possible exercises that will work for you.
If you’ve never paid any attention to what’s on your plate, now’s the time to start. A healthy diet is key when trying to manage diabetes. Since diabetes stems from an abundance of or inability to use the sugar in your blood, you should limit your intake of sugar, fat, and carbohydrates, which turn into sugar in your bloodstream. Instead, load your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meat.
Stress affects your entire life. Your sleep is interrupted, you forget to eat, you eat too much, and you fall into unhealthy habits. Those unhealthy habits may seriously jeopardize your health and your progress in managing your diabetes. Try engaging in hobbies you enjoy, deep breathing exercises, or other stress-relieving methods to keep your mind off stress and on your health.
Kick the habit
Diabetes increases your risk of developing serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, foot problems, and kidney disease. If you’re smoking as well, your chances of developing these problems are even higher. Smoking also makes you less likely to get exercise. If you’re looking to quit smoking, schedule a consultation with Dr. Veiseh.
And alcohol can be just as damaging to your health when you have diabetes. You don’t have to stop drinking, but you do have to be more aware of how alcohol affects you.
Moderate amounts of alcohol may cause your blood sugar to rise, while excess alcohol can actually cause your blood sugar to drop to dangerous levels. Alcohol also adds calories to your diet and stimulates your appetite, making it hard to control your weight. If you’re going to have a drink, keep these things in mind:
- Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks per day
- Don’t drink without food
- Take your time finishing the drink
- Stay away from sugary drinks
- Mix your liquor with water or club soda
It’s always a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace to let those around you know that you have diabetes should an emergency arise.
Diabetes may be a part of your life, but you can make changes that improve and help you manage your symptoms. Let Dr. Veiseh support you through your journey with diabetes. Call or schedule an appointment online today.