The global prevalence of diabetes among persons over 18 years of age increased from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 2014, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to a Harris Poll done in 2016 for the Calorie Control Council*, 20% of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes by a medical professional. With November being National Diabetes Month, the Calorie Control Council (CCCKarima )’s Kendall, Ph.D., RDN, LDN, has highlighted five guidelines for managing this disease that is affecting an increasing number of people.
Here are five tried-and-true diabetes management tips:
1. Take care of your tension.
Too much stress is bad for anyone, but it’s especially bad for people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Stress hormones can directly change blood sugar levels, in addition to causing people to forget or not have time to check blood sugar levels or prepare nutritious meals. Making an effort to minimize stress through techniques like fitness classes, breathing exercises, and other soothing activities will only assist with diabetes control.
2. Get up and move at least 30 minutes a day.
Insulin sensitivity improves with exercise. This means your muscle cells are better able to employ any available insulin to absorb glucose during and after exercise. Exercise on a consistent, regular basis can help lower your A1C, in addition to lowering blood glucose in the short term. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity every day at the very least. Low blood sugars can happen during and up to 24 hours after physical activity, and they’re more likely to happen if you’re on insulin, skipping meals, or exercising strenuously or for a long time.
3. Make use of calorie-free and low-calorie sweeteners.
It’s difficult enough to live with diabetes on a daily basis without having to give up your favorite sweets. There is a variety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners that are safe to consume and deliver the same sweetness as sugar without raising blood glucose levels. Many of these sweeteners can be purchased at the grocery store and used as stand-alone sweeteners in your own recipes, in addition to being available in packaged foods and beverages.
These sweeteners can help you have your sweet frozen hot chocolate – and drink it, too, given the festive sweets relished this time of year at seasonal parties. Visit here for more information on low- and no-calorie sweeteners and diabetes, as well as carb-conscious recipes.
4. Ward off sickness.
Physical stress, such as illness or injury, leads patients with diabetes to have higher blood glucose levels.
Get your flu vaccination, eat healthily, and wash your hands frequently now that cold and flu season has here.
Also, if you are sick, talk to your doctor about any changes you might need to make to your diabetes management routine and insulin dosing (if necessary).
5. Don’t allow ‘perfect’ to become the enemy of ‘good.’
Although there are distinctions in the care of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, no matter how strictly you monitor and manage your diabetes, you will never be able to maintain ideal blood sugar 100 percent of the time. Even those who do not have diabetes suffer mild blood sugar highs and lows. Instead of allowing periodic low blood sugar levels to discourage you, focus on living a balanced lifestyle full of activities that drive you.
Diabetes is under your control, not the other way around!