Lifestyle Tips For Managing Your Diabetes

The medical team at St. Luke Intergrative can help you make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes.

Diabetes is an extremely common metabolic condition that affects more than 100 million American adults. When you have diabetes, your body struggles to convert the food you eat into energy that fuels your organs, muscles, and brain. Diabetes is a chronic condition that you can manage with some lifestyle changes that reduce your risk of developing serious complications.

Yvonne C. Ortega, MD, FACEP, and her team at St. Luke Integrative Medical Center offer comprehensive care for diabetes and neuropathy. Take a look at our top tips for living the best possible life with diabetes.

1. Regularly check your blood sugar level

When you come to St. Luke Integrative Medical Center for diabetes care, we give you a target blood sugar range and advise you about when to check your blood sugar. In general, you should check your blood sugar at least two times per day.

It’s usually a good idea to test your blood sugar before each meal and an hour or two after a meal. If you exercise regularly, checking your blood sugar before, during, and after physical activity can help you determine if you need a snack.

Tracking your blood sugar and recording how your diet and activity level affect your readings can help you find a combination of lifestyle changes that make managing your blood sugar levels easier.

A1C blood tests evaluate your average blood sugar over the past two months. In general, if you have Type 2 diabetes, your A1C should be 7% or lower. We work with you to determine how often you need to get an A1C blood test and help you evaluate your results.

2. Eat a healthy diet

The food you eat directly impacts your blood sugar levels, so eating a healthy diet needs to be a way of life with diabetes. Center your diet on lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. While no foods are off-limits, you should focus on eating only what your body needs and work to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar.

Manage your carbohydrate intake to keep your blood sugar under control. Carbohydrates are the sugars and fibers found in many foods, and they are what your body converts to energy. High fiber carbs like whole grains, green vegetables, and fruit are better for your body than carbs that come from processed foods and baked goods.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercising at least 30 minutes five times a week brings a number of health benefits, including living a healthy lifestyle while managing diabetes. If you live a sedentary lifestyle now, exercising can help you control your condition. Consider breaking up your 30-minute sessions into three 10-minute sessions as you build strength.

To stay motivated, find an activity that you enjoy doing, or get friends involved. Try walking, riding a bike, or even swimming to get your 30 minutes of activity. It’s a good idea to include strength training and stretching activities in your fitness routine as well.

4. Maintain a healthy weight

If you’re overweight or obese, losing extra weight can take strain off your body and your heart. Maintaining a healthy weight can help control your blood sugar levels. Getting into a regular exercise habit and eating a diet full of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Achieving a healthy weight if you have diabetes can help you manage the condition, improve your quality of life, and add years to your life. A lower weight helps keep your blood sugar in the target range and often makes it easier to live an active lifestyle.

5. Go to the doctor regularly

If you have diabetes, annual exams are essential. When you come in for your checkup, we look at your diabetes and overall health to identify and treat any complications. We check and manage blood pressure levels, evaluate your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and make sure that you’re as healthy as you possibly can be.

We often perform a dilated eye exam and examine your feet to check for nerve damage, including retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy.  We also check the development of kidney damage and heart disease, which are common complications of diabetes.

Making lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can significantly improve your condition and make diabetes easier to manage. Knowing your numbers, including your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, is critical to living the healthiest possible life when you have diabetes.

With our expert care, you can find a lifestyle that works for you and helps you live a full and happy life with diabetes. To learn more about our chronic condition care plans, call our office or request an appointment online today.

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