If you're struggling with diabetes management on your own, don't worry! This blog post provides tips for managing diabetes at home that can help you feel more confident about how to tackle this condition.
In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:
- What can your doctor help with?
- Why is exercise important?
- How to follow a diet plan?
- How to measure your blood sugar levels?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects over 26 million Americans and is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, and amputation in the United States. It's important to take care of yourself to prevent any diabetes complications. To manage diabetes at home effectively, it's important to follow some simple guidelines: eat right, exercise regularly, practice stress management techniques, get enough sleep, and take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
All of these tips can help make managing diabetes easy as pie! The key is being proactive and setting up systems that work well for you. With a little creativity, any diabetic person should be able to navigate their condition easily from anywhere in the world by using all of these helpful hints.
Make sure you eat right and have a diet plan
There are many types of diets that work effectively for people with diabetes, including low-carbohydrate, high protein/low fat; Mediterranean style (high carbohydrate); and vegetarian or vegan (high carbohydrate). Diets can be modified to suit personal needs so if one doesn't seem to work well then there is most likely another type of diet that will do the trick!
If you struggle with meal planning or balancing food groups in your diet, a registered dietitian may be able to help out. You should also make an exercise plan together with anyone who helps manage your diabetes like an MD or dietitian.
Here are some great tips to set up a meal schedule or meal plan.
- Set a plan for three meals and two snacks or five small portions of food per day.
- Cook in bulk to have leftovers on hand so you don't feel the need to order takeout every night.
- Make sure your diet has appropriate amounts of fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats (healthy oils), dairy products/milk substitutes like soy milk) as well as whole grains. Eating these things will help keep blood sugars low when they are high because they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream over time instead of all at once, which can lead to diabetes complications.
Glycemic index is also important: foods with a lower glycemic index tend to raise glucose levels less than higher GI foods do. Try eating a diet with a low glycemic index is the key to managing diabetes. If you are cooking something that's high on GI scale, don't fry it but bake instead, or use an air fryer to reduce fat usage. When buying pasta or bread try to look for low GI options.
Exercise regularly for 30 minutes per day
Exercise is key to a long and healthy life. For people with diabetes, exercise can be a great way to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Exercise should be done at least 30 minutes each day. This improves your heart health and also helps weight management. Exercise can be as simple as a 30-minute walk or stretching for five minutes after each meal to reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications such as nerve damage, retinopathy, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
It's important to find out what works best in regards to exercise while living with diabetes before starting an exercise routine. To do this talk about your fitness goals with any doctors that are helping you manage your diabetes type one or two so they can help create an individualized workout plan tailored specifically towards these goals.
If there is anything in particular that seems like it might work better for you then discuss it with them! This could be something specific like jogging or walking instead of running.
Talk about how incorporating physical activity into everyday life will reduce blood sugar levels because exercise increases insulin sensitivity which makes glucose leave the bloodstream quickly after consumption during high-intensity activities like running or weight lifting.
Practice stress management
Stress can elevate your blood sugar levels and make diabetes management more difficult, so stress relief is important.
Practicing mindfulness exercises like meditation can help with that by teaching you to live in the moment and pay attention to your thoughts without judging them or reacting emotionally.
Stress reduction techniques include relaxation techniques such as breathing deeply for five minutes a day, drinking water throughout the day (or adding flavored drops), journaling about what’s bothering you instead of keeping it bottled up inside, getting enough sleep at night, and practicing yoga poses on days when you feel stressed out.
Get enough sleep
Sleeping is important for your health. It's also important for managing and reducing diabetes. Insufficient sleep leads to increased insulin resistance the following day, which means it's harder for your body to use glucose as energy. In addition, studies show that people who get less than four hours of sleep per night have more trouble regulating their blood sugar levels with medication alone because they're too tired to take long-acting or injectable drugs at a steady pace before bedtime.
It's recommended to sleep at least seven to eight hours per night. Don't forget to measure your blood sugar levels before going to bed. This will prevent that you go into a deep sleep while having a high or low blood sugar.
There are some ways to make sleep easier:
- Keep a regular schedule for getting in bed and waking up
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, which can cause disrupted sleep patterns
- Turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Try reading instead of watching TV if that's possible; it will help you relax and fall asleep more quickly
Measure your blood sugar levels daily
Diabetes doesn't go without measuring your blood sugar levels on a daily basis. This helps you identify what your blood sugar levels are and how they react to food intake, exercise, or medications.
- Measure your blood sugar before breakfast every day
- Use a glucose meter with an automatic alarm that will wake you up in the morning if necessary
- Always measure after not eating for at least eight hours; this is important because low blood sugars happen when there's less insulin around due to a lack of carbohydrates from meals eaten earlier than eight hours ago
Make sure you take your medication
Insulin or other medication is important for diabetes management. Be sure to check which ones are right for you and schedule when they need to be taken so that your body can produce insulin efficiently without risking a low blood sugar situation. Setting up a schedule or alarm can help you remember when your medicine needs to be taken. This can be programmed into a phone or other devices, like your insulin pump or glucose meter.
The process of insulin production and use can be complex, but understanding how it works is the best way to manage diabetes at home with confidence that your medication will work as intended.
- Check dosage instructions on the bottle
- If there's more than one dose per day, measure out each individual dose in advance and set it by your alarm clock or bedside table for ease of access
- Take medication as prescribed
Consult with your doctor when needed
To keep your diabetes managed regularly consult with your doctors for regularly scheduled appointments. Your doctor will provide you with the tools and advice to manage diabetes effectively at home, so don't hesitate to reach out when needed. They can help you with your schedules and what to do when your routine changes. If you experience a high or low blood sugar level on a regular basis, consult with your doctor immediately. They may recommend adjusting medication dosage and/or food intake.