According to the International Diabetes Federation, 74 million Indians are diabetes patients. But do not quit your favourite mithai just yet! Diabetes can be easily managed by following a few simple steps.
Know your ABCs!
No, we are not going back to the nursery. ABC in a diabetics dictionary stands for:
- A1C test: A quick test to show your blood glucose level for the past three months. Get in touch with your health care team to know what your results should look like and how often you need to get tested.
- Blood pressure: Check your blood pressure frequently to ensure it is within limits. Ask your health care provider what your limit is.
- Cholesterol: Check your cholesterol for HDL and LDL levels. LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ causes blockages in your arteries, which could cause critical heart conditions.
- Stop smoking!: Both smoking and diabetes narrow down your blood vessels. It could lead to heart issues and various other physical issues.
Check your sugar levels daily
- Your blood sugar levels rely on endless factors. Checking your blood sugar levels every day will give you an insight into what triggers your sugar levels.
- You can do this at home! Just use a blood glucose meter. Prick your finger and apply one drop of blood to the test strip. The blood glucose meter will then give you your blood sugar level.
- Or get a continuous glucose monitoring machine for blood glucose readings every few minutes.
Grab your cooking apron!
Healthy living starts from the stomach. Diabetic diets are important and patients should be wary of their food to see what affects their blood sugar. But do not just say no to all your favorite foods! Here is what you should look out for:
- Carbohydrates: Yes, your arch-nemesis. Although most people consider carbohydrates the villain in their diet when diabetic, not all carbohydrates are bad. Include carbohydrates from different food groups such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, dairy. However, understand what portions are right for you. Manage your portion sizes and monitor your blood glucose levels to understand your body’s capacity and tolerance.
- Fiber is good: Fiber works miracles to lower your blood glucose levels. Consume at least 21g of fiber per day with whole grains and fiber-rich foods. Veggies are your best friends!
- Do not leave out proteins and healthy fats: A good protein intake ensures satiety, reduces hunger and promotes lean muscle mass. Good quality dietary fats from olive oil, cold pressed canola oil, groundnut oil, nuts and oilseeds, and omega-3 fats from marine sources are both heart healthy and highly beneficial.
- Avoid sweet drinks: Sugary beverages are absorbed into your bloodstream quickly. They cause an abrupt rise and fall in blood glucose levels. This sudden fluctuation is terrible for diabetes management. The best alternative is to replace sweet drinks with chilled fruits! Sugar should be restricted in your diet, whether diabetic or not.
Take a Walk
- Exercising every day keeps your mind sharp, body healthy, and blood sugar normal.
- At least 30 minutes of physical activity every day is recommended
- Work out the best physical activity plan for you with your healthcare provider.
Keep your medicine schedule
- Ask your healthcare provider which medicines you should take and in what doses.
- Be sure to time your medication with your food. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) occurs because of the wrong diet.
- Regularly monitor your blood glucose when starting on a new dosage or medicine. It will help you understand how the medication affects your blood sugar and whether you are facing any side effects. Report your readings to your healthcare provider until you find the correct medication and dosage.
- Take your pills at a fixed time. As fun as it is to surprise your body, it is healthier for you to create a medicine schedule and stick with it.
- Food delivery for diabetic patients are also available nowadays, which is convenient in every possible way.
Don’t worry, be happy
- Stress has done no one any good. It only raises your blood glucose levels. Avoid stressful situations as often as possible.
- Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Try yoga, meditation, or some relaxing hobby to lower your stress.
And that’s it! Healthy living is quite an effortless task. A few simple tweaks in your everyday life are the key to a healthy and long life. Promise yourself that you will take a step towards being healthy today!