Diabetes is a serious condition, but thankfully it’s not a hopeless one. By implementing smart lifestyle changes, you can go on to lead a normal life without worrying about how this disease can negatively affect you.
Here are five tips to get you started—they’re by no means the only advice you should be following, but they are some of the most important you’ll find.
1. Take your medication.
It should go without saying, but the most crucial tip for managing your diabetes is to take your medication as recommended by a doctor. Because symptoms progress slowly and are often unnoticed, many people think they can get away with slacking on this responsibility. However, this will only increase your risk of severe damage from diabetes.
2. Stay active.
Weight loss is often effective at reducing the symptoms of diabetes, so getting enough exercise is another important tip for managing the condition. However, even if weight loss isn’t your goal, staying active can help your reduce your body’s resistance to insulin. Regardless of how intense your workouts are, it’s best to aim for about 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Talk with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen.
3. Watch what you eat.
Developing healthy eating habits is absolutely essential when it comes to managing diabetes. As a good rule of thumb, your diet should be low in sugar and high in fresh, unprocessed foods. However, it’s always best to consult with a certified nutritionist to ensure that what you’re eating is in line with your diabetes management goals.
4. Don’t neglect social support.
It can be overwhelming to think about all the life changes you’ve got to make in order to keep your diabetes in check, so having a solid system of social support is important as well. Friends and family are an obvious source of help, but you might want to consider attending support groups for people living with diabetes too. Members will probably be able to empathize more with the struggles you’re going through than those without this condition.
5. Quit smoking.
Cigarettes have the potential to raise your glucose levels, constrict blood vessels, and cause nerve damage. While, ideally, no one should be smoking, quitting is especially important for diabetes patients since they have an increased risk of these conditions, to begin with. There’s no doubt that the quitting process can be a struggle, but once you do it your body (and your wallet) will thank you.