The word diabetes has an intimidating ring to it. Which is perhaps why, tackling the daily tasks of diabetes control and the emotional strain that accompanies it requires the cultivation of a range of coping techniques over time. Winning against diabetes is all about choices. Choosing to not let the condition take over, choosing to eat smarter and choosing to take better care of yourself. It's no wonder then, that taking care of yourself may feel overwhelming too.
If you're overwhelmed by your daily diabetes management regimen, this quick checklist is just the thing to help ease up your routine and put you on track to a healthier life.
Step 1: Maintain a diabetes journal
The first step in diabetes care is maintaining a diabetes journal. It's the best way to keep an eye on how well your diabetes management plan is working. Remember to monitor and record your blood sugar levels on a daily basis. You could do this manually or speak to your doctor about flash glucose monitoring systems that do the job for you.
Additionally, manually time stamp these measurements along with meal and work out times to map the impact on sugar levels. Include details of the meal and type of workout. This information not only helps your doctor but also helps you decide what to eat and how to exercise.
Step 2: Watch what you eat & Learn more about it
What you eat and when you eat directly impacts your blood sugar levels. Your diabetes journal will help you determine dietary recommendations. It'll help you understand your spikes and drops in relation to food better. A regular eating routine can help avoid spikes in blood glucose levels and stabilize your blood sugar through the day.
Plan your meals ahead of time and incorporate healthy choices like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Understand how your body reacts to food, read up about things like the Glycaemic Index of different foods and how these could be impacting your sugar levels. Ask your doctor/nutritionist questions to make informed choices
Step 3: Get in shape
A good diet and great workout can do wonders in lowering blood sugar levels. Exercise not only helps insulin work better, it also increases your energy and improves blood flow. Not just that, some workouts are better than the others for you and may lead to better results. Consult your doctor to devise a workout plan that's best suited to your needs and get ready to work up a sweat.
Step 4: Know your medication/Understand your condition better
Be responsible for your treatment. Inform yourself as a patient about what your body is going through and how the condition could impact you. If you need medication as treatment, understand how your medication works before you start taking it- How does it affect your glucose levels? How and when do you take it? Does it have any side-effects?
Don't hesitate to discuss your health history and clarify any questions you may have with your doctor.
Step 5: Check your feet
The key task with diabetes isn't just the regulation of sugar levels but preventing that increased sugar level from causing more damage within the body. People with diabetes are prone to developing foot problems such as calluses, ulcers and even neuropathy. Sometimes nerve damage and poor circulation can decrease the sensation on your feet, so you may have a wound or blister and not even notice.
Check your feet daily to ensure there are no injuries or infections. Early detection can save you from serious complications in the future.
Step 6: Step up your dental game
As with feet, the same is the case with teeth. High blood glucose levels may cause a build-up of plaque and even increase your risk of developing gingivitis and other gum diseases. Keep your teeth in mint condition by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Regular visits to the dentist can also keep dental problems at bay and your oral health in check.
Step 7: Undergo an annual diabetes care review
Every person with diabetes must get a diabetes care review done at least once a year. This check-up will help your doctor assess your health and re-evaluate your treatment plan. At the review, be sure to check your blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. It's also good to prepare a list of questions you may have for your doctor or diabetes specialist.
Successful diabetes management is all about paying attention to the details. With technologies such as Flash Glucose Monitoring Systems, you have the opportunity to understand, in consultation with your doctor, in greater details your glucose level patterns; making you more empowered to make informed choices and quicker adaptations to your treatment plan for better results - from the kind of diet you need to follow or the type of activities to can pick up. With direct understanding of their impact on your sugar levels, you have the benefit of creating a customised regimen, under physician supervision, that allows greater flexibility in the choices you make and fewer restrictions. A diligent regimen with a detailed journal coupled with regular evaluations, will help you tackle this new challenge and build a healthier future.
Disclaimer: This publication / editorial / article does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/ healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.