7 Tips for Living With Type 2 Diabetes
Leaning of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is especially difficult, as it has life-changing implications. People with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer.
The good news is you can do something about this. Millions of people live full, healthy, and happy lives with type 2 diabetes, and you can too.
Here are 7 healthy lifestyle changes for living with type 2 diabetes.
Successfully Living With Type 2 Diabetes
Living with type 2 diabetes means making some major lifestyle changes. Although there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, studies have shown it is possible to reverse it.
If you make the right changes around your health habits you will be able to reach and hold normal blood sugar levels without medication.
1. Improve Your Diet
Improving your diet is the most important lifestyle change you can make to reduce the risks of life-threatening diseases when living with type 2 diabetes. Changing to a healthier diet will reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and imbalances in blood sugar.
Eating healthy is easier said than done. Your best bet is to find a trusted nutritionist to help you develop a healthy diet plan. If you cannot go to a nutritionist here are some quick tips to help you balance your diet.
First focus on making sustainable changes. Going from zero to one hundred is very difficult to sustain. Identify two or three food and beverage items you can remove from your diet or substitute for a healthier option.
Plan your meals in advance. When we are hungry is when we tend to make bad diet choices. If you know you have a meal coming you can better avoid temptation.
Make sure your diet is a healthy balance of vegetables, fruits, fats, starches, and proteins. Avoid excessive sodium, fat, and sugar. Two easy ways to do this are to choose whole-grain and low-fat options and avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice unless you are using them to boost your blood sugar levels.
2. Exercise Regularly
Adding regular exercise to your weekly and daily routines is vital to managing life with type 2 diabetes. The CDC recommends two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. This includes brisk walking, cycling, and can include gardening. The CDC also recommends doing some strength training two non-consecutive days each week.
If you are more experienced with regular exercise you can aim for an hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. This would include running, cycling on hilly terrain, or uphill hiking.
Like your diet, planning is the key to building an exercise routine. If you can’t see a personal trainer do some research and find an exercise program that meets your needs. Schedule in your exercise time and find others to exercise with.
3. Watch Your Levels
Monitoring your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol is critical. You should be visiting your doctor regularly, where they will check your levels. But you can also check your levels at home with self-monitoring tools.
When you purchase self-monitoring machines consult your doctor to ensure you get the right machine. They will also instruct you on how to use it and how to build good self-monitoring routines. Record all of your data in a journal and take this with you to your regular checkups for your doctor to review.
4. Quit Smoking
We all know how bad smoking is for our health. If you have type 2 diabetes the negative health effects can be even more severe. Smoking damages your heart and blood vessels and increases your risk of numerous other diseases.
Quitting is always an option, and if you are living with type 2 diabetes it will significantly improve your quality of life. Your doctor will have information and advice about the most effective quitting methods for you.
5. Manage Your Stress
Suffering from stress can have several adverse health impacts, most notably raised blood pressure. This increases your risk of developing heart disease if you have diabetes.
if you are suffering from stress or anxiety adding some stress management techniques to your weekly and daily routine is incredibly valuable. Meditation, mindfulness, controlled breathing, and yoga can be learned easily and can take less than 10 minutes to perform.
Your doctor will have plenty of advice on stress management. But you can also find plenty of online guides and tutorials, as well as smartphone apps.
6. Build a Support Network
Living with type 2 diabetes is a full-time job. You will face different challenges and have different responsibilities to other people. It is important you have supportive friends and family who make life just a little easier.
Don’t hide your diagnosis. If those around you know you live with diabetes they will be able to facilitate your needs and it can be potentially life-saving in emergency situations.
7. See Your Doctor Regularly
Even if you feel healthy and are living a healthy lifestyle, regular appointments with your doctor (every six months) are vital to managing your diabetes and living longer. Your doctor will check your levels and keep detailed records. This is also a chance for you to raise any new issues and get accurate information.
Your doctor will also provide judgment-free guidance and advice. Even though you might be open with your family, there may be a few issues you do want to keep private. You can share these with your doctor to ensure they get treated appropriately.
Live Your Best Life
Living with type 2 diabetes presents unique challenges and requires significant lifestyle changes.
The good news is that you can take some control back. Following our guide and living a healthy lifestyle will ensure you live a happy, healthy, and long life.
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