More than 30 million people in the United States are affected by diabetes, and a whopping 84 million more are on the brink of developing this serious, systemic disease. If you’ve already been diagnosed, now is not the time to resign yourself to a life of compromised health. There are many ways that you can lead a happy, active life by better managing your diabetes.
At Westmed Family Healthcare, our goal is to partner with our patients in Westminster, Colorado, for great health long into the future. Getting a serious diagnosis like diabetes may feel like a major setback, but there are many ways you can take charge of your health and move forward.
Here are a few things you can do at home to help you avoid the serious and life-threatening complications that can come with diabetes.
Know your numbers
Diabetes is a condition in which you’re unable to properly control the glucose levels in your blood, either because of insulin resistance or lack of insulin. This means that you’re going to have to get very familiar with your blood sugar levels so that you can properly monitor them.
Frequent testing is the first line of defense when it comes to staying one step ahead of your diabetes, allowing you to respond quickly and correct any minor problem before it leads to something more serious.
Rest assured, we take the time to sit down with you to review how and when to test. And we work with you until you feel comfortable managing your own numbers at home. Just as you brush your teeth every day, you simply add another small task that takes just minutes. But these minutes are crucial to preserving your good health.
A weighty issue
Far and away the most prevalent form of diabetes is Type 2, which accounts for 90-95% of the diagnoses. This form of diabetes is often the result of genetics and lifestyle choices. While there’s little you can do about the first, there’s much you can do on the second point.
If weight issues are what brought on your diabetes, this is a great place to start to slow, and even halt, the progression of this disease. We know weight loss is difficult on a good day, but let diabetes renew your commitment to shedding those extra pounds.
To provide you with some motivation, one study found that 40% of people who lost just a little over 30 pounds sent their diabetes into remission. While the amount of weight you should lose depends upon how much you’re carrying, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that losing just 5-7% of your body weight can make an appreciable difference in how your diabetes affects your health.
Get up and go
One of the best ways to manage your diabetes and get rid of weight is to get up and move. Adding a little exercise to your day, every day, not only helps with weight loss; it improves your cardiovascular system, which is under assault with diabetes.
When your blood glucose levels are high, your blood vessels begin to narrow because of the sugar buildup. This means that your heart and blood vessels have to work harder to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your body.
Through exercise, you can burn off this extra sugar and improve your circulation.
One of the clear and present dangers with diabetes is a condition called peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage in your extremities, namely your feet.
This means you have to take special care of your feet and watch them closely for any signs of distress. Just as we added checking your glucose levels every day to your daily to-do list, we’re going to add caring for your feet.
When you get up in the morning or when you go to bed at night, take a few minutes to gently wash and dry your feet (make sure to thoroughly dry them). While you’re tending to your feet, inspect them carefully for any open wounds, which need to be treated right away.
We’ve found that many of our patients are under enormous stress in this fast-paced world. Throw in a serious diagnosis like diabetes, and you may be feeling overwhelmed. We recommend that you try to find ways to relax and just breathe.
Whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or a walk in the park, give your body a timeout from the stresses of life. The payoff can be amazing, both physically and mentally.
There are many more ways to take charge of your diabetes, which we’re happy to discuss with you. Just give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.