Diabetes: You Can Take Charge

November is Diabetes Awareness. Newly diagnosed with diabetes or know someone? Share this article.

Diabetes is a serious life-long condition, but there’s a lot you can do to protect your health. If you have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, this article offers you tips for managing your diabetes.

Overtime complications of diabetes caused by uncontrolled blood sugar can develop in the eyes (diabetic retinopathy), the kidneys (diabetic nephropathy), and the feet (diabetic neuropathy). Those three areas all receive their blood supply from tiny blood vessels called microvasculature that are susceptible to damage from high blood sugar levels.  

However, when blood sugar is well controlled the rate of complications falls. A 1% decrease in the A1c test that is maintained decreases your risk of microvascular complications by about 37%.

Taking care of your diabetes or prediabetes right after diagnosis will pay off in your long-term health.

Managing Your Type 2 Diabetes

The following steps will help keep your blood sugar levels closer to normal and maintaining close-to-normal blood sugar levels can delay or prevent diabetic complications:

  • Weight loss and maintenance of the weight loss
  • Healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Using diabetes medications as prescribed

Watch your diet

There is no “diabetes diet”, but making efforts each day to take the following steps will help put you on the right track for lowering your blood sugar levels:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more foods high in fiber
  • Eat fewer refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, pastries, pancakes, and crackers
  • Eat fewer saturated fats, such as fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, processed meats, butter and full-fat dairy
  • Eat fewer overall calories

You don’t have to entirely cut out foods high in saturated fats, but you should limit your consumption. Check labels and choose foods that have more unsaturated than saturated fats. 

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring, and trout are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and are a healthy addition to your diet.   

Get Moving

Fitness is an important aspect of managing type 2 diabetes. It can be walking, bike riding, or swimming laps, but the key is to find activities you enjoy and will keep doing. 

Just 30 minutes a day of exercise will, in time, decrease your blood sugar levels, increase your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power. Walking will also improve your mood especially if you walk in an area with some greenery or water.

Monitor Your Glucose         

Frequently check your blood sugar levels. Doing so can help you see which foods or activities trigger blood sugar highs or lows. Keep your food and activity consistent and test your blood sugar and look for patterns over 2 to 3 days. The goal is to find the insulin dose that keeps your blood sugar levels stable without causing a low.

Have regular A1c tests that will assess your average blood sugar level for the past 2-to-3 months.

Your blood sugar monitoring schedule is individual to you and should be set according to your needs and under the supervision of your doctor.

Connect with a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

Diabetes care and education specialists are certified healthcare professionals with specialized knowledge in diabetes self-management and care. They will help you chart and then monitor the best diabetes healthcare course for your situation.

Visits to accredited diabetes education specialists are covered by most insurance plans and by Medicare Part B. You can locate an accredited diabetes education program by clicking here.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us (877) 245.2020.

Nader Moinfar, M.D., M.P.H.
Retina Specialist
Orlando, FL

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