You may have felt overwhelmed when you were diagnosed with diabetes. However, the good news is that you can be in control of the condition. The fundament of managing diabetes is to have good blood glucose control, which helps to provide steady energy to support your daily activities and helps delay the onset of complications like blindness, kidney failure and heart problems. Take charge to achieve better glucose control through the following:
1. Healthy Eating
What you eat, how much and when, can impact your blood sugar levels. However, you do not need a special diet – the diet for people with diabetes is simply a healthy eating plan that helps to control your blood sugar. Some tips include:
- Eating a variety of food in appropriate portions.
- Moderating carbohydrate intake and including low GI options.
- Sticking to regular mealtimes and spacing out meals and snacks through the day.
See a dietician for nutritional advice and obtain a diet plan that is tailored for you.
2. Managing Your Weight
If you are overweight, losing weight will help control your diabetes and reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Aim for slow, gradual weight loss (0.5- 1kg per week). Even losing a small amount of weight will help with blood sugar control and improve your overall health.
3. Staying active
Engaging in regular physical activity is also an important part of diabetes management. It helps in weight management, improves blood sugar control and keeps the heart healthy. Do something that you enjoy as you are more likely to stick at it and make it a habit. Also, try to move more as part of your daily lifestyle – so take the stairs instead of the lift, and get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
Consult your doctor before starting any exercise programme. Watch out for symptoms of low blood sugar during exercise (e.g. shakiness, chills and feeling lightheaded). If this happens, stop the activity and quickly eat or drink something sweet to raise your blood sugar level.
4. Taking medications as prescribed
In addition to healthy eating and regular physical activity, taking medications as prescribed by your doctor can help to improve blood sugar control too.
Speak to your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes nurse to find out more about your medication, when to take them, and how to monitor your blood sugar levels.
Consult your doctor for a customized diabetes management plan.