Thankfully, diabetes awareness is much more nowadays than a decade ago. The digitisation has helped awareness campaigns a lot. Also, unlike earlier times when people used to dread a diabetes diagnosis, today, people understand that it is possible to manage it. Of course, there has to be some discipline and changes that you might need to make. However, they are not so hard that you may miss out on anything much in life.
Bottom line: Even if you have diabetes, you can still live a wholesome and healthy life by participating in most activities that make you happy. We bring you eight ways in which you can stay healthy.
- Strictly adhere to diabetes management
One thing you cannot afford to do once you know you have diabetes is to take it lightly. If you fail to manage diabetes, it can cause serious health issues and even turn fatal. Hence, the one significant change you must make in your life is to learn diabetes management. It starts with understanding what diabetes type you have and how it affects your body and health. You need to accept that diabetes management is for you and not do it only because someone forces you to. Learn to be proactive about it and do it happily.
Diabetes management means you will follow a prescribed diet, go for regular check-ups to monitor sugar levels, and conduct any other associated health check-ups such as eyes, heart, etc. Diabetes management involves tracking the various parameters that can affect your health.
- Make lifestyle changes
The lifestyle changes you must make to manage diabetes are:
- Diet: Since blood sugar is directly related to what you eat, you must watch what you eat. Often, there is a not-so-difficult prescribed healthy diet that you can follow without much trouble. It is more about making healthy choices than changing ingredients, way of cooking, or menu.
- Quit smoking: Smoking increases your chances of heart disease, stroke, etc. These odds increase when you have diabetes.
- Limit your alcohol consumption: While it is best if you can give up on alcohol completely, an occasional drink is allowed. You can consume alcohol in the quantity prescribed by the doctor. Alcohol can fluctuate your blood sugar levels and affect insulin or medicines. Therefore, if you drink, it must be discussed with your doctor.
- Stay active
If you have diabetes, it is essential to be active through regular exercise. You need not have to exercise heavily or go to a gym. However, a sedentary lifestyle or being a couch potato can cause you unnecessary complications. Daily walks, jogs, stretches, housework, etc., are good enough to keep you healthy. Ideally, you can have 30 minutes of moderate activities that make you sweat a little. Also, breathing exercises like Pranayama help maintain respiratory health and calmness.
- Keep vaccines up to date
The vaccination may not earlier have been a significant part of diabetes management. However, post-Covid, it has taken more importance. Apart from the Covid booster shots, you can check with your doctor if you need to take the flu or Hepatitis shots also. Depending on the co-morbidities, the doctor may advise accordingly. Also, if you are visiting some foreign country, they may need specific vaccines to be up-to-date.
- Go for periodic dental check-ups
What’s the link between diabetes and teeth, you may be wondering? Uncontrolled diabetes can cause sugar in your saliva to spike, making it hard to maintain oral health. Bacteria in the mouth feeds on this sugar can cause decay, cavities, and other issues such as gum diseases. You may also experience dry mouth as there will be lesser saliva. If you are a smoker, then it can cause more issues. Hence, it is essential to go for periodic dental check-ups to ensure oral health. It can help detect any dental problems timely to treat them. Diabetes also slows the healing of oral infections, making such check-ups a must.
- Conduct regular eye check-ups
Did you know diabetic retinopathy is the primary cause of blindness among people aged 20 to 74? Indeed, it is that serious. Diabetes can affect your vision in many ways. It can cause blurry vision, glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy. Hence, have regular eye check-ups to detect issues early and start treatment. Also, if you notice any symptoms such as blurred vision, glares, headaches, eye pain, watery eyes, seeing halos, etc., please visit an ophthalmologist.
- Take care of your feet
Diabetes can cause nerve damage, blood circulation issues, etc., and impact your feet. People with diabetes should take special care of their feet. They should wash their feet thoroughly daily and watch them closely for any changes or symptoms. They should wear comfortable shoes, protect their feet from heat or cold. Avoid walking barefoot so your feet don’t get hurt even accidentally. Do not ignore any foot issues and seek medical attention immediately.
- Reduce stress
Stress is part of our lives these days, one way or the other. However, with some consideration, we can learn to manage stress. Doing Yoga, specifically, Pranayama can help us build mental and physical resilience to handle stress. Of course, many other de-stressing techniques, such as meditation, Tai Chi, reading, listening to music, gardening, etc., can help reduce stress. The key is to know that you should reduce stress and stay happy.