Despite its prevalence in America, diabetes is an often-misunderstood diagnosis. Whether it’s confusing Type 1 and Type 2 or blaming the patient for their own disease, plenty of people have very little detailed understanding of what diabetes truly is and how to manage it.
Simply put, diabetes is a disease in which the body struggles to control blood sugar and insulin levels. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, causing the patient’s blood sugar to reach potentially dangerous levels. Type 2 diabetes generally involves insulin resistance, where the patient’s body develops a tolerance to insulin and it gradually loses its effect, similarly causing blood sugar to increase. Fortunately, both types can be managed with similar strategies. Let’s take a quick look at how to manage your diabetes for a healthier lifestyle.
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Diet & Exercise
A healthy diet and regular physical exercise will help improve anyone’s health, but both activities are especially critical for diabetics. The level of carbohydrates you consume directly impacts your blood sugar. Eating too many can cause a spike, while eating too little can cause a sudden drop in your blood glucose levels. Diabetes patients should stick to a consistent number of carbohydrates. This will help your body adjust to particular carbohydrate levels and keep your blood sugar at a stable level.
Meanwhile, diabetes patients should aim for the same minimum exercise levels recommended for all able-bodied adults: at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Aside from just helping your overall health, this will also help your body use up extra calories from too much blood sugar.
For some patients, significant lifestyle changes may be implausible. Others may have such severe diabetes that their new habits don’t help as much as hoped. In either case, your doctor may prescribe medications to help manage your symptoms. None of these drugs are perfect. But while some may cause mild discomfort or inconvenience through their side effects, the right prescription can help manage your diabetes significantly. Talk to your doctor about potential medications for you.
While both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients should be acutely aware of their insulin levels, Type 1 patients are far more likely to require insulin therapy. This treatment involves injecting insulin to replace what the body fails to produce. Depending on your needs, you may require long-acting insulin or simply a quick-acting injection following meals. Either way, this critical hormone plays a vital role in your treatment and should not be neglected.
Pro Tip: Though it’s not often prescribed, a certain type of insulin is available as an inhaled treatment taken right before meals. Patients with healthy respiratory systems may prefer this delivery method. See if your doctor thinks it will work for you.
Living with Diabetes
Chronic disorders significantly impact your life, but forming healthy habits and ditching bad ones will go a long way toward helping you stay healthy. This especially applies to handling diabetes. Know what helps your blood sugar and what causes you more problems, and stick to your custom diabetes treatment plan.
Get in touch with us to learn more about living with diabetes and what treatments might work for you.