Type 2 diabetes can seem like a daunting diagnosis. A life-long condition that requires daily monitoring is a lot to take in. Most people may not know much about the condition until they have it – this can make it feel even more overwhelming. However the condition is surprisingly easy to keep in check.
The key is to control blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are too high over a long period, it can cause a host of serious health problems such as heart disease and strokes. According to Dr Oz, with these four simple changes, you can start to see improvements in your blood sugar right away:
1. Hydrate properly
One of the first changes to make is to look at what you are drinking throughout the day. This includes avoiding sodas and fruit juices and taking a close look at what you put in your coffee, which can all be hidden sources of sugar and extra calories. These extra calories can contribute to obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes. Try to replace your sweetened beverages with healthier options. While water is always the number-one choice, you can also switch to flavoured seltzer water, unsweetened almond milk, or herbal teas.
2. Make a move
There’s no need to run a marathon or hit the gym every day of the week. Slight improvements in your daily movement can start to improve blood sugar right away. Start with small, realistic changes, like taking 10 to 15 minute walks after one or two meals each day. Physical activity will help you actually burn the calories you are eating, reducing obesity (which is a major risk factor for diabetes).
3. Maintain a healthy weight
We all know that watching what you eat is an important part of long-term diabetes management. But studies show that overall weight reduction, independent of dieting, is also beneficial for those with diabetes. What this means is that you don’t need to completely retrain your palette and decide which exact diet to follow right away. As long as you just start eating a little less every day and do anything else that might also help you lose some extra weight, your diabetes will be better controlled.
4. Ask questions
The key to making health improvements is to know where you are beginning. Ask your healthcare team questions to gain a clear understanding of your type 2 diabetes situation. Learn the answers to questions such as:
How was I diagnosed?
What is my goal blood sugar range?
Why was I prescribed this medication?
What do I need to know about how food affects my blood sugar?
Testing your blood glucose levels is also regarded as being very beneficial for helping to make diet and medication dosing decisions, according to Diabetes.co.uk.
Blood glucose testing is the process used to measure the concentration of glucose in a person’s blood. Blood glucose testing can be carried out at home using a blood glucose meter.
“A blood test involves pricking your finger with a small needle called a lancet, drawing a drop of blood from the finger and applying it to a test strip that has been engaged into a blood glucose meter,” said the health body.
According to the health site, blood glucose testing can help to control diabetes in a number of ways:
Informing food choices and portion quantitiesAssisting medication dosing decisionsIdentifying periods of high or low blood glucose levels
In turn, this can lead to:
A reduction in HbA1c (improved long-term glycemic control)A lower risk of serious diabetic complicationsReduced depressive symptomsImproved confidence in self-management of diabetes
The NHS also recommends going for check-ups to make sure your condition doesn’t lead to other health problems. If neglected, the condition can lead to the following:
Heart disease and strokeLoss of feeling and pain (nerve damage) – causing problems with sexFoot problems – like sores and infectionsVision loss and blindnessMiscarriage and stillbirthProblems with your kidneys
Once a year it recommends getting checked if you’ve lost any feeling in your feet, and for ulcers and infections.
It is also worthwhile getting your eyes tested once a year to check for damage to blood vessels, and getting checked for blood pressure, heart and kidney disease, the health body said.
“This can be done by your GP or diabetes nurse,” it added.