Diabetes is one of the most prevalent global diseases of our time, and sadly, remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Over the past three decades, the presence of diabetes has more than quadrupled globally and if this trend continues, millions more will be affected in years to come.
Early diagnosis and intervention is the starting point for living well with diabetes. Something needs to be done – and it starts with you. Here we share some useful advice to help you manage diabetes in your own home.
Understand Your Diagnosis
Diabetes is a group of disorders characterised by chronic high blood glucose levels and insulin resistance. Although Type 1 diabetes mostly affects children, Type 2 is the more common variation, and is considered a lifestyle disease that is typically caused by obesity and lack of exercise in adults.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, the consequences may be devastating as diabetes wreaks havoc on the body. The excess blood sugar in diabetes can do serious damage to the blood vessels with complications that include severe damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves. It can also double your chances of a heart attack or stroke.
Thankfully, you can lower your risk of complications and successfully manage the disease through key lifestyle changes. Consider your eating habits, weight, exercise regime and stress levels, and learn to incorporate modest lifestyle changes to improve your blood sugar levels and overall health. These are the basics to helping you take care of yourself as a diabetic.
Water is life
One of the common signs of diabetes is increased thirst and as a result, increased urination. This often happens as your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb excess sugar in the body. Water is the best way to quench this thirst and besides containing no sugar, calories, caffeine, sodium or fat, water is the ideal remedy to flush your body of toxins and keep you hydrated. As a diabetic, hydration is vital to keep your sugar levels under control, and water is a wonderful and natural way to do so.
Your body requires physical exercise to burn fat, use insulin, control your weight and remain fit and healthy. Start slow – moderate exercise is key with something as simple as a brisk walk three times per week that you can gradually build up into a more vigorous regime.
The prospect of exercising may seem daunting, but consider your options and find something fun to help you ease into it. Join a weekly dance class or walking club; or start a swimming routine or cardio workout with friends. Try to increase your daily step count and invest in a pedometer to monitor your activity.
As a diabetic, try to avoid exercise right before you sleep as this could cause low blood sugar levels during the night.