World Diabetes Day: Getting Diabetes Under Control
There are two types of diabetes: type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in childhood, and type 2, or adult-onset diabetes. Both types are characterized by high blood sugar, resistance to insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar), and relative lack of insulin. While type 1 diabetes is not preventable or reversible, there are things you can do to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes. Here’s how.
While keeping diabetes under control sounds daunting, making some small, simple changes to your daily routine can add up to a big reduction of your A1C, a key measure of average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months. Obesity is one of the largest risk factors for diabetes, so getting and keeping your weight in a healthy range is critical.
- Reduce carbohydrate intake. Start by taking a look at your daily diet. Choose baby carrots instead of crackers or chips. Opt for diet soda instead of the regular ones, which are full of sugar.
- Make simple swaps. Swap out your sandwich for a wrap using a low carb tortilla for the same flavor but fewer calories. Use fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Cook up some ground turkey instead of beef for taco night or chili.
- Move more. Experts recommend getting 10,000 steps a day. While that may seem daunting, minor changes can add up quickly. Bring groceries in from the car one bag at a time instead of loading your arms up to take them in all at once. Take an extra lap around the block when walking your dog.
- Boost your heart rate. Once you’ve become accustomed to moving more, it’s time to ramp up your heart rate. Incorporate some lunges into your walks or increase your speed to a slow jog for one minute, then walk for two minutes. This will gradually improve your cardiovascular health and burn more calories, thereby helping you keep your blood sugar lower and more even.
Other complications come along with diabetes, and being watchful of them is just as important as monitoring your blood glucose levels.
- Check your feet. Even if you feel fine, check your feet, especially your toes, every day. Nerve damage to the legs and feet is a common complication of type 2 diabetes. Along with poor blood circulation, another common complication, it can lead to ulcers and sores on the feet. If these go unnoticed or untreated, it could lead to irreversible damage to the feet or toes. Be aware of any abnormalities and call your doctor if you see anything unusual.
- Visit your eye doctor regularly. Diabetic retinopathy causes vision loss and even blindness in people with diabetes. An annual dilated eye exam will help catch this condition early to help you protect your eyesight.
- Watch out for depression. Many people with diabetes also develop depression, which can impact how you manage your illness. If you feel you’re starting to feel down or hopeless, please seek help from a mental health professional.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, keeping your blood sugar between 80 and 120 is critical to avoiding life-threatening side effects of blood sugar that is either too high or too low. Both can cause coma or death in extreme cases. Check your blood sugar often and be conscious of how much insulin you should give yourself based on how much and when you’re eating.
Living with diabetes doesn’t have to consume your time and mental space. Your dacadoo Digital Health Engagement Platform can help you stay on track with nutrition advice, motivation to keep active and goals to improve your mental health.