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I Have Diabetes . . . Now What?

The words “You have diabetes” are not easy to hear. In fact, today alone 5,000 people will hear those words. If you are one of those 5,000 – use this knowledge as a first step towards living a healthier life.

To make the appropriate lifestyle changes, it is important to be educated. Understand what diabetes is, the causes, proper care, and safe lifestyle changes. Before making any major lifestyle changes, consult a medical professional about how they can directly affect your health. Check out these resources to learn more:

  1. Be Willing to Make a Change

Diabetes is a serious health condition that should not be ignored. It is difficult to make changes that you have become accustomed to. However, is it worth risking your health or even your life to continue these unhealthy habits? The following are just a few statistics of diabetes and how it affects the health of those who are diagnosed with it.

  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States
  • Diabetes doubles risk for stroke
  • 60-70% people diagnosed with diabetes have damage to their nervous system.
  • Diabetes triples risk for heart disease

Although diabetes can cause many issues, it can be controlled. You have taken the first step by reading this article – great job!

The body operates off of what you eat. A healthy diet is vital for managing diabetes and maintaining stable blood levels. A diet change is not as impossible as it may seem. Although foods will be cut out – there are healthy, delicious alternatives.

While there are many diabetic diet plans

( , there are a few basics:

  • Low Carbs: Get your carbs from foods that are high in fiber such as vegetable, fruits, and whole grains. High fiber foods assist in stabilizing blood glucose.
  • Avoid Sugar: Foods high in sugar are quickly absorbed and cause blood glucose to rise. Stay away from sugary drinks and sweets.
  • Healthy Fats: Eat heart-healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and fish. Healthy fats lower cholesterol level and raise HDL levels –  keeping a healthy heart.

Exercise is another important component in the treatment of diabetes. It has multiple benefits from reduction of body fat to reducing stress. But, most importantly – it assists in the management of blood glucose levels. This is extremely important, especially for those with diabetes because people with Type 2 Diabetes has too much insulin in their blood. There are two possible reasons for this: the body does not produce enough insulin to process it or the body does not use insulin properly. The best types of exercises for people with diabetes:

  • Aerobic Exercises
    • Swimming
    • Walking
    • Cycling
    • Dancing
  • Strength Training
    • Machine: this allows you to learn proper forms.
    • Resistance Bands: these are reduce the risk of injury and increase bone density.
    • Body Weight: uses your own weight for resistance – including push ups and pull ups.
    • Free Weights: Use light weights to start out that you can do about 8-10 reps with and increase as your strength improves.

Make sure you are tracking and managing your blood glucose levels. This allows you to see the progress you are making and set goals for future improvements.

  • Blood Sugar Levels: This test shows how the changes that are being made, such as food and exercise, are affecting your blood glucose levels on a day-to-day basis. This test should be done once or twice a day for those who have Type 2 Diabetes. The ideal -Blood Sugar Level would be 70-130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl up to 2 hours after a meal.
  • A1C Test: This blood test measure average blood glucose levels over a period of 90 days, giving an overview of how the overall treatment plan is going. This test should be performed 2 to 4 times per year. The ideal A1C result would be 7% or below.
  • Cholesterol: Measuring the amount of fats and liquids in the blood – including LDL and HDL. LDL is bad cholesterol and builds up in the arteries, while HDL is good cholesterol and protects your arteries. To learn more about cholesterol here (our cholesterol blog)

You do not have to let diabetes run your life. Make the proper changes and become the healthiest you. By following these steps and getting the support and assistance from your friends and doctors – you are going to be on the right track to recovery!