If you have diabetes, then you know that diabetes management is something that must be done around the clock. If you’re still early on in your life with diabetes, balancing day-to-day activities and your diabetes can be tricky. But, over time, it will become more manageable.
While everyone is different and their diabetes may affect them in different ways, there are some universal diabetes management tips that everyone can follow to keep their health in check.
To ensure that you learn to live with your diabetes safely, here are some simple yet effective tips for managing your diabetes effectively.
1. Make Every Meal Well-Balanced
Eating a balanced meal 100% of the time is impossible. We’re all busy, and our lives can be hectic. Sometimes you just have to eat a quick lunch that maybe doesn’t have everything you need. And that’s okay. But, if you can make the majority of your meals balanced, then you’ll be well on your way to successfully managing your diabetes.
A balanced meal should contain a mix of starches, fruits, vegetables, protein, and fats. To figure out the best combination of foods for your meals, speak with your doctor or dietitian, as everyone is different.
2. Speak With a Doctor About an Excercise Plan
Exercise is essential for everyone, but it is especially vital for managing diabetes. Physical activity causes the muscles in your body to use sugar (glucose) for energy. So, regular physical activity is a great way to help your body use insulin more efficiently. And, speaking with your doctor is the best way to make sure you exercise safely. Your doctor will help you plan out an exercise schedule that works for you so that you can coordinate around meals and medication schedules.
In addition, your doctor will help you know your numbers—that is, your blood glucose levels that are appropriate before you begin exercising. Always staying hydrated when exercising and keeping a small snack or glucose tablets nearby are two more ways you can ensure you’re exercising safely.
3. Be Mindful When Using Your Medications
Your doctor will have much to say about the proper use of your medication. But, there are some key things to keep in mind on a day-to-day basis to ensure that you’re using your medication safely. For example, make sure that you store your insulin properly. Insulin is especially sensitive to extreme temperatures and should not be used if it has not been properly stored as per the directions. In addition, pay attention to expiration dates.
It’s also important to be cautious with new medications as you learn how your body reacts to them. Prior to taking any over-the-counter medication, you should also speak with your doctor to see how it may impact your glucose levels.
As always, pay attention to your blood sugar levels while taking your medication. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low or go up too high, then your dosage or timing may need to be altered. Your doctor can help you create a new medication schedule to fix this issue.
4. Know What to Do in the Event of an Illness
It’s hard to know exactly when you’ll get sick. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for an illness and create a plan to ensure your diabetes is managed while you get over the sickness hump. Once again, this will involve speaking with your doctor, who can offer some expert advice on how to go about managing your diabetes while you’re sick.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should still take your medication while you’re sick. But, they recommend reaching out to your doctor if you’re unable to eat because of nausea or vomiting. When these situations arise, your doctor may suggest adjusting your insulin dose.
If you can, continue to eat balanced meals. This will help you control your blood sugar levels. Foods like crackers, soup, and applesauce can be easy on your stomach while still rich in the nutrients you need. Tea, water, and other fluids that don’t add a lot of calories are perfect for making sure you stay hydrated.
5. Manage Your Stress
Everyone deals with stress, and everyone should find solutions that work for them to manage their stress. We still have a long way to go to break down the stigma around mental health, but luckily there are signs that we are moving in the right direction. For example, therapy is on the rise as more young people understand the importance of prioritizing their mental health.
Managing stress is of the utmost importance for people with diabetes, as prolonged stress can cause a rise in blood sugar. First, it’s a good idea to see just how your stress affects your diabetes. You can do so by logging your stress levels (on a scale of 1–10) each time you measure your blood glucose levels.
Once you understand how stress affects your glucose levels, look for ways to limit your stress. Some people benefit from exercise. Others need to take some time to themselves and meditate or read a book. Experiment with different stress-relieving techniques to find out which ones work for you.
And, as mentioned, therapy or meeting with a psychologist regularly is a fantastic way to help your mental health. If you’re not ready for that, speaking with a family member or close friend about your stress is a great place to start. Sometimes, simply being open about your mental health with someone you trust can help alleviate some of the pressure you may be feeling.
6. Make Sure You Have the Right Diabetes Management Solution
Having the right diabetes management solution can make all the difference in controlling your diabetes. If you’re in need of a new diabetes management solution, talk to your employer about Pops Diabetes Care’s Rebel + Mina.
If your employer doesn’t offer Pops, no worries! Just give them this handy card to get the ball rolling!