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Follow diabetes guidelines to stay in control of your health

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Follow diabetes guidelines to stay in control of your health

Be honest, how closely do you follow diabetes guidelines? Management of diabetes is important to your long-term health. If you’re living with diabetes, you are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and heart failure. If it’s been a while since you talked with your provider, here is a diabetes guidelines refresher that can improve health outcomes and your quality of life.

Weight loss for management of diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes who carry around extra weight are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. High blood pressure readings are when your systolic blood pressure is 130 mm Hg or above, and your diastolic blood pressure is 80 mm Hg or above. High cholesterol is when your total blood cholesterol is 200 mm Hg or higher.

Weight management can help improve blood glucose levels and help you feel better overall. You don’t even need to lose a lot of weight. Even 10 to 15 pounds or 5%-10% of your body fat is a great start.

Unfortunately, there are no tips or tricks for fast, healthy weight loss. Sustainable weight loss takes time, and while it can be frustrating, it will go a long way toward managing diabetes.

Eat healthy to improve health outcomes

Another strategy to help manage your Type 2 diabetes, is a focus on healthy eating. Fill your plate with vegetables and fruit, lean protein sources (fish, chicken and beans), non- or low-fat dairy, and whole grains.

You may also need to count the number of carbohydrates (carbs for short) you take in per meal to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range after meals. Your healthcare provider can help determine how many carbs you should eat daily.

Foods that have carbs include:

  • Dairy products, such as milk and yogurt
  • Fruits, such as bananas, berries, oranges, etc.
  • Food with added sugars, such as desserts, sodas, etc.
  • Grains, such as bread, pasta, etc.
  • Legumes, such as beans and peas
  • Snack foods, such as chips and crackers
  • Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn

Get enough physical activity

Physical activity can make your body more sensitive to insulin (the hormone that helps control blood sugar). The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or a combination of the two.

Aerobic exercise is anything that increases your heart rate, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Pick an activity you enjoy that gets your heart rate up, and you’re good to go.

If you take insulin, make sure you check your blood sugar levels before exercising and drink plenty of water. Before starting any exercise routines, check with your healthcare provider to see what’s safe for you.

Take your medications as directed

Some people with diabetes are prescribed insulin or other medications to help stabilize blood sugar. If this is you, make sure you are taking your medications as prescribed. Your medications may change over time. This is normal. Just be sure to keep track of what you’re supposed to be taking and when.

Also, keep an eye on your blood sugar levels as directed by your healthcare provider.

Reduce the risk of diabetes

Some groups of people with impacted social determinants of health are at an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. However, there are still steps you can take to reverse the trend if you have developed prediabetes—high blood sugar levels but not high enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes. These steps include:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Lose weight.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.

You may have noticed these steps are the same as for the management of diabetes, but with one difference: You don’t have to worry about taking insulin or other medications—yet.

The LCMC Health diabetes care teams are here to take care of you. Make an appointment to see a diabetes care specialist near you.