Diabetes is a disease that is increasingly becoming a part of our lives. While that is an unfortunate reality, it does not have to be a death sentence to your days of happiness. A happy and healthy diabetic life is very much a reality for many people. Here are 10 ways in which you can achieve it for yourself:
1. Be aware
Read up but don’t mistake your google search for a doctor’s expertise. Talk to your doctor about the A1C test, Blood pressure and Cholesterol — the ABC of diabetes. Discuss with your doctor the ideal levels of each of these parameters for you and maintain a record for ease of access and your peace of mind.
2. Carbohydrate Counting and Portion Control
Diet is probably the most difficult thing to master with diabetes. The general rule, obviously, is to reduce and/or replace foods high in calories, carbohydrates, saturated fats, trans fats, sugar and salt. Sounds simple enough, sort of… A simple guideline often given is that for each meal, make 1/4 of the meal grains, 1/4 of it proteins and half of the meal fruits and vegetables. But practical, daily diet can get tricky, especially if you are a fan of rice. That is where Deccan low GI rice becomes a great replacement, letting you fill in on your favourite meal while keeping your blood sugar manageable.
3. Let fiber be your friend
To elaborate a little more on the fruits and vegetables aspect of your diet, that is basically a way to include a lot of fiber in your diet. Since the digestive system cannot break down fiber, it leaves you feeling full while avoiding blood sugar spikes.
4. Take medication seriously
If you have been prescribed insulin or other drugs for your diabetes, ask the doctor all the questions you have. Stick to a schedule, monitor your blood sugar levels and diet before and after medication and never take anything complacently. Keep those close to you at work and at home informed about any critical drugs to be administered in an emergency. Most obvious: always check the expiry dates of all medication.
5. Plan an exercise schedule
Diabetes is a chronic disease but it is now a part of your life. Make it a reason to be fit rather than an excuse not to. Walking, cycling, yoga, aerobics… whatever floats your boat. The aim is a minimum of 2.5 hours of mild to moderate exercise a week. Simple exercise will help you lower blood sugar, reduce chances of heart disease and also help you achieve and/or maintain the ideal BMI. Consult your doctor to find out what diet and time regimen you should follow for your specific needs.
6. Stay hydrated
‘Drink plenty of water’ is great advice for almost anyone, but if you are living with diabetes, it makes it that much more important. Water helps move the food easily through your digestive system and helps flush out blood glucose naturally. It becomes increasingly important during and after exercise because people living with diabetes mellitus are indeed at a higher risk of dehydration even without the water loss through perspiration.
7. Stop smoking
Again, great advice for everyone. Firstly, smokers are 30 to 40% more likely to develop diabetes. So that may be what got you here. Moreover, diabetes puts you at risk for cholesterol imbalance, raised blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. All of these risks are amplified with smoking. And of course, there is the breathlessness that will make exercising more difficult. Take help if needed and quit immediately.
8. Be responsible with alcohol
Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks per day and always eat before you drink. This is because alcohol can tend to have erratic effects on your blood sugar level. Some drinks are also high in carbohydrates, eating into the grain portion of your daily meal as well.
9. Be mindful of your menstrual cycle
Your blood glucose and insulin levels can be influenced by your hormonal changes during the course of the menstrual cycle. Observing and noting these changes will help you manage your daily life with diabetes as well as facilitate medication adjustments if the changes are significant. In some cases, diabetes can also mess with your monthly cycle and cause anovulation. Keeping records will help you stay aware of your overall health.
10. Master your mind
Being told you have a chronic disease that you pretty much have to live with is not the most relaxing experience, but once the initial emotions pass, you need to treat it as a part and parcel of life in order to move past it. This is not only to ensure an optimistic attitude towards a diabetic life but also to reduce stress, a major aggressor in diabetes. Make meditation a part of your daily routine and take back control of your life.
Physical and practical changes will make a difference; but the day you start approaching life differently, diabetes will become a part of your life, not the entirety of your being.
Note: We have done our due diligence in our research but nothing can surpass your doctor’s advice.