Being diagnosed with diabetes does not mean the end of the world, or the end of the lifestyle that you have always enjoyed. Yes, you may have to make some changes but with properly managed diabetes, diabetes does not have to affect your life much. The three main things that will affect how much sugar you have in your blood are your food, exercise and medication.
o Schedule your meals
Your blood sugar level is at its highest during the first two hours after your meal intake. As such, eat at the same time every day to lessen the variation in your blood sugar level. Between meals, you can eat smaller meals or healthy snacks.
o Eat the right portions
Each type of food has its own appropriate portion size. Do not overeat or under eat. Learn what portions are appropriate and write down the portion you eat often. Standardize your measurements by using cups or scales.
o Eat a well-balanced meal
It is very important to eat almost the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal because they affect your blood sugar level greatly. Try to have as many meals of the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats. You can always consult your doctor or dietician for an appropriate diet.
o Coordinate your meals with your medication
Hypoglycemia – dangerously low blood sugar level – can happen if there is too little food compared to your diabetes medication. On the other hand, hyperglycemia – dangerously high blood sugar level – could happen if there is too much food compared to your diabetes medication. Thus, it is important to talk to your doctor to coordinate your meal and medication to strike a balance.
Physical activity is important especially for diabetic patients in order for your muscles to use the glucose in your body for energy. A regular physical activity could improve your body’s response to insulin. Both light and heavy activities could lower your blood sugar level but a more intensive workout would make the effect lasts longer.
o Get an exercise plan and schedule
Get your doctor to plan a suitable exercise plan for you especially if you have been inactive for a long time. Your doctor will need to check your heart condition before advising you. You should also know the best time to sweat it out to coordinate with your meal and medication time.
o Keep track of your blood sugar level and stay hydrated
Always monitor your blood sugar level before, during and after exercise. Be aware of warning signs of low blood sugar level – weakness, light-headedness, feeling irritable, anxious, tired or hungry – especially if you have take insulin or medications that lower blood sugar level beforehand. Remember to drink plenty of water while working out as blood sugar level is affected if you are dehydrated.
o Keep a snack or pill on standby
In the case of dangerously low blood sugar level, always keep a snack or glucose pill with you during an exercise.
The medication you take depend on the timing and size. First of all, you must store your insulin properly as improperly stored insulin may be ineffective. If you face any problems with your medication, see your doctor to adjust the dosage and timing. You should also always be cautious with new medications and get your doctor’s advice before getting any over-the-counter medication regardless of what the medication is for.