A Handy Guide to Living Healthy with Diabetes

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A Handy Guide to Living Healthy with Diabetes

A diagnosis of diabetes is like a wake-up call. It is an indication that your body is not happy with the way things are and a change of lifestyle is in the offing. Attention to your diet and exercise and maintaining a healthy weight is the way to diabetes control and will, in fact, lead you towards a healthier life.

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Handy Guide To Living Healthy With Diabetes

With the right knowledge and tools, you can manage your diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels under control. Here are some handy tips for living healthy with diabetes.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels

One of the most important things you can do to manage your diabetes is to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. This will help you understand how your body responds to different foods, activities, and medications. You can use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar levels at home. Your doctor may also recommend getting a hemoglobin A1C test, which measures your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months.

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Follow a Healthy Eating Plan

A healthy diet is crucial for managing diabetes. Your diet should consist of a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. It’s also important to limit your intake of processed and high-sugar foods. Work with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized meal plan that fits your specific needs and preferences.

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Stay Active

Regular physical activity is essential for managing diabetes. Exercise can help lower your blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week. Consult with your healthcare team before starting any exercise program.

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Take Medications as Prescribed

If your doctor has prescribed medication to manage your diabetes, it’s important to take it as directed. This may include insulin injections, oral medications, or both. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for dosing and timing. Don’t stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor first.

Manage Stress

Stress can affect your blood sugar levels and overall health. Finding ways to manage stress is essential for living healthy with diabetes. Some effective stress-management techniques include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. Consider talking to a mental health professional if you’re having trouble managing stress on your own.

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Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for overall health and well being. Lack of sleep can affect your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare team about strategies to improve sleep quality.

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Keep Track of Your Symptoms

Keeping track of your symptoms can help you and your healthcare team identify patterns and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. Some symptoms to watch for include frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow-healing wounds.

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Stay Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

People with diabetes are at higher risk for certain infections, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on vaccinations. This includes the flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, and other vaccines recommended by your healthcare team.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, so it’s important to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your doctor may recommend regular blood pressure checks and cholesterol tests to keep track of your heart health.

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Stay Connected with Your Healthcare Team

Regular check-ins with your healthcare team are important for managing diabetes. This includes regular appointments with your doctor, as well as regular visits with a registered dietitian, diabetes educator, and other members of your healthcare team. Be sure to ask questions and share any concerns you may have about managing your diabetes.

Carbohydrates and Diabetes.

People with diabetes should focus on consuming complex carbohydrates as they are less likely to cause spikes in blood glucose levels. Additionally, they should aim to consume carbohydrates in moderation and spread them out throughout the day to avoid large spikes in blood glucose levels.

A Controlled Diet

Paying attention to what and how much you eat goes a long way towards managing diabetes. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats (if you desire) are desirable while processed food or drinks packed with unhealthy fats, sodium or sugars are to be avoided. Guidelines provided with plans like the ‘My Plate’ method can act as a checklist. Even occasional indulgence is ok if it is tempered with reducing calories elsewhere and increased exercise.

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Weight Control

Shedding those extra kilos will reduce the strain on your body and improve your sugar levels. While being overweight is not always the only cause of diabetes, excess weight, especially around the belly, has been correlated with higher blood sugar levels. Optimal weight is also good for your cardiovascular system.

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Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is critical to a diabetic’s life. Even without weight loss, exercise improves glucose absorption by cells and thus helps reduce blood glucose levels. Aerobic exercises are the best. But it is advisable to include muscle building exercises to get better results. The overall health benefits of regular exercise to your health are an added benefit.

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Stress Management

Stress has been known to have a negative impact on blood sugar levels. Learning to respond positively to stress and adopting stress management techniques contribute to your diabetes control plan, but it can also add a lot of value to your general happiness and satisfaction. Meditation, massage, yoga – choose what works for you and enjoy the benefits.

Here are some eating guidelines for diabetes:-

Choose foods with a low glycemic index:

Foods with a high GI can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, which is not desirable for people with diabetes. Foods with a low GI, on the other hand, are digested more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Examples of low-GI foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts.

Eat a balanced diet:

Your diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. You should also limit your intake of processed and high-fat foods.

Watch your portion sizes:

Eating too much of any food, even healthy ones, can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Use a food scale or measuring cups to ensure that you are eating the right amount of each food group

Limit your intake of sugary and high-carbohydrate foods:

Sugary and high-carbohydrate foods can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. These include sweets, cakes, soft drinks, and white bread. You should limit your intake of these foods and opt for healthier alternatives such as fruit, whole grain bread, and sugar-free drinks.

Eat regularly:

Eating regular meals and snacks can help regulate your blood sugar levels and prevent spikes and dips. Aim to eat three meals a day and two to three snacks if needed. This will also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Stay hydrated:

Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help prevent dehydration and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Avoid sugary drinks and opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sugar-free drinks instead.


By following these basic eating guidelines, you can maintain healthy blood sugar levels, prevent complications, and lead a healthy and active life. However, it is always recommended to consult a registered dietitian or healthcare provider to create a personalized eating plan that suits your individual needs and goals.

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Almost all of the recommended diabetes management techniques are not just helpful in controlling sugar levels, but also are healthy habits on their own merit. As such with a little commitment and control you can live a healthy and fulfilling life even with diabetes.