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Diabetes Management: How to Live a Healthy Life with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes monitor, Cholesterol diet and healthy food eating nutritional concept with clean fruits in nutritionist's heart dish and patient's blood sugar control record with diabetic measuring tool kit
About 34.2 million people, or 10.5% of the US population, have diabetes. About 7.3 million people haven’t received a diagnosis, though.

If you’re a diabetic, it’s important to talk to your doctor about diabetes management. Developing a diabetes care plan can help you remain in control! It can help you avoid potential complications down the road, too.

Not sure where to start? Why is developing a diabetes program so important, anyway?

Keep reading to find out! In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know to manage your diabetes. Read on to learn more.

Managing Type 1 Diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, the goal is to maintain a blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. Maintaining your blood sugar level can help delay or prevent complications.

For most patients, the goal is to maintain daytime blood sugar levels before meals between 80 and 130 mg/dL. Your after-meal numbers should appear no higher than 180 mg/dL two hours after you eat.

Your types 1 diabetes plan might include:

  • Taking insulin
  • Counting your carb, fat, and protein intake
  • Monitoring your blood sugar levels
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Exercising regular
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Here are a few tips that can help you develop your diabetes treatment plan.

Insulin

If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need lifelong insulin therapy. Your doctor might recommend different types of insulin, including:

  • Long-acting insulin
  • Intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin
  • Rapid-acting insulin
  • Short-acting (regular) insulin

You can’t take your insulin orally to lower your blood sugar, though. Otherwise, your stomach enzymes will break down the insulin. This process can prevent its action.

Instead, you’ll need to receive insulin through an insulin pump or injection.

With an insulin pump, you can wear a device on the outside of your body. The device is about the size of a cell phone. A tube connects a reservoir of insulin to a catheter.

The catheter is inserted under your skin at your abdomen.

You can wear the pump in your pocket or at your waistband. You might consider a wireless pump, too. If you choose a wireless pump, you’ll wear a pod that houses the insulin on your body.

You can wear the insulin pod on your leg, arm, lower back, or abdomen.

Pumps are programmed to dispense a specific amount of rapid-acting insulin. You’ll receive a steady dose, known as your basal rate.

When you eat, you can program the pump based on the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating. You can input your current blood sugar, too. Then, you’ll receive a bolus dose of insulin.

The bolus dose of insulin will cover your meal and correct your blood sugar if it becomes elevated.

With injections, you’ll use a fine needle and syringe or insulin pen. You’ll inject the insulin under your skin, using a mix of different insulin types throughout the day.

Multiple injections throughout the day can closely mimic the body’s normal use of insulin.

Medications

If you have type 1 diabetes, your doctor might prescribe additional medications as part of your diabetes care plan.

These medications might include high blood pressure medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. They might prescribe angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBS) to keep your kidneys healthy.

Otherwise, your doctor might recommend baby or daily aspirin. Taking aspirin daily could protect your heart if you’re at increased risk of a cardiovascular event.

Some doctors might suggest cholesterol-lowering drugs, too.

Blood Sugar Monitoring

Your doctor might ask you to check and record your blood sugar levels throughout the day. You can check your blood sugar levels:

  • Before meals and snacks
  • Before exercising
  • If you suspect you have low blood pressure
  • Before driving
  • Before bed

Monitoring your blood sugar levels can help you ensure they’re within the target range.

Your levels can change unpredictably, though. You’ll need to learn how your levels change due to food, illness, medications, stress, and activity.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

There’s no specific diabetes diet. However, your doctor might recommend a low-fat, high-fiber diet that includes:

  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

Talk to your doctor about adjusting your diet based on your diabetes program.

You’ll need to count the amount of carbohydrates you eat throughout the day, too.

Exercising Regularly

First, make sure to get your doctor’s okay to exercise. Find activities you enjoy, such as walking, and make them part of your routine.

Don’t go more than two days without exercising.

Regular exercise can lower your blood sugar levels.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

As with type 1 diabetes, it’s important to develop a type 2 diabetes management plan if you’re diagnosed. In addition to the above tips, it’s also important to adjust your diet.

For example, you can:

  • Eat smaller portion sizes
  • Develop a schedule for meals and snacks
  • Consume more high-fiber foods
  • Eat only modest servings of low-fat dairy, meats, and fish
  • Use healthy cooking oils like olive oil
  • Consume fewer calories each day

Consider working with a diabetes specialist or registered dietitian. A dietitian can help you develop a food plan full of nutritional meals. They can help you develop new habits and monitor your carbohydrate intake, too.

Don’t forget to remain physically active. Losing 5 to 10% of your body weight can lower your risk of developing diabetes by 58%. Losing weight after a diabetes diagnosis can benefit your health and disease management, too.

Otherwise, make sure to:

  • Commit to managing your diabetes
  • Work with a diabetes educator
  • Schedule an annual physical exam and eye exams
  • Keep your vaccinations up to date
  • Take care of your teeth and feet

Try to limit your inactivity. Take a walk or complete some light activity every 30 minutes.

You can also add aerobic and resistance exercises like weightlifting and yoga to your routine.

Why It Matters

Developing your diabetes management program can help reduce fatigue and other diabetes symptoms. It can also reduce your risk of vision issues, dementia, and other serious medical issues.

Keep up-to-date with your diabetes education for more ways to live a healthy life as a diabetic.

For example, COVID-19 could trigger metabolic issues. It’s possible the virus might damage the pancreas, causing complications for people who already have diabetes.

It’s important to remain informed about diabetes management and prevention. You can learn more here.

Diabetes Management: Developing Your Own Management Plan

Proper diabetes management could reduce your risk of complications down the road. Keep these simple tips in mind. Don’t forget to visit your doctor every year for an annual check-up as well.

Want to discuss your diabetes program with a team you can rely on? We’re here to help.

For a comprehensive diagnosis, contact our team today to get started.


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