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5 Lifestyle Changes To Avoid Diabetes Complications

Diabetes has been affecting more than half a billion men, women, and children of all ages worldwide. Even worse, research has shown that it’ll likely increase twice (or even higher) in the next 30 years.

While the condition is now one of the leading causes of death and disability around the world, it’s not a life sentence restricting you from leading a fulfilling life. The key lies in effectively managing the condition.

This blog post explains key lifestyle changes to help you effectively manage your condition and reduce the risk of complications. Check them out here:

Medication Adherence

Medication plays a crucial role in diabetes management. Taking the prescribed medicines in the correct dose and timing as directed by your healthcare provider greatly affects the efficacy of the treatment regimen.

Non-adherence, in contrast, can result in uncontrolled blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of serious complications. These include neuropathy, retinopathy, cardiovascular diseases, and kidney failure.

The most well-known drug for diabetes is Metformin. It lowers glucose production in the liver and improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin (a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels) to use glucose more effectively.

Sulfonylureas are Metformin Alternatives for Diabetes. They stimulate the beta cells in the pancreas to produce more. This increased insulin production helps lower the level of glucose in the blood.

Other alternatives are Thiazolidinediones, like Rosiglitazone and Pioglitazone. There are also newer classes of drugs that reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. These include DPP-4 inhibitors (Sitagliptin, Saxagliptin) and GLP-1 receptor agonists (Exenatide, Liraglutide).

Moreover, note that medication adherence is a shared responsibility between the patient and the healthcare provider. Open communication about the side effects, costs, and barriers to accessing medicines can lead to more effective management strategies.

Dietary Changes

Consider adopting a low-carb, high-fiber diet that focuses on whole foods. This approach helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes overall well-being. First, consuming fewer carbohydrates reduces the body’s demand for insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, a diet high in fiber helps moderate the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. They also provide a sense of satiety, helping control appetite and prevent overeating, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, a high-fiber diet is associated with improved gut health and a reduced risk of heart disease, which are important for people with diabetes.

Besides low-carb, fiber-rich meals, consume lean proteins. They don’t directly affect blood sugar levels like carbohydrates do, making them valuable in controlling glucose levels. When consumed, proteins take longer to digest and absorb than carbs, leading to a slower, more sustained release of energy. This can help in avoiding rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, remember that it’s not just about what you eat, but also when and how much. Regular meal times and portion control significantly prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. Consider working with a dietitian or nutritionist who can create a meal plan tailored to your individual needs.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is beneficial for your overall health and plays a significant role in managing diabetes. When you engage in physical activity, your muscles require energy to contract, leading to increased glucose uptake by the muscles from the bloodstream. This process naturally lowers the amount of glucose in your blood.

Exercising also increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin. In other words, your cells can better use insulin to absorb glucose during and after activity. This improved insulin sensitivity can last for hours or even days after exercise, helping to regulate your blood sugar levels long term.

It’s important to note that the benefits of exercise vary based on the type, duration, and intensity of the activity. Hence, it’s highly recommended to have a well-rounded exercise routine incorporating both cardio and strength-training activities. More importantly, always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen.

Avoid Smoking

Several studies have shown that nicotine, a common component of cigarette smoke, can lead to insulin resistance. This condition requires the pancreas to produce more insulin to compensate, putting extra strain on these cells. Over time, this strain can lead to the failure of insulin-producing cells, causing higher and more unstable blood sugar levels.

Other chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause inflammation and damage tissues and cells throughout the body. They tend to worsen diabetic retinopathy, a condition that threatens vision.

Additionally, smoking restricts blood vessels, impairing blood flow. For people with diabetes, this can worsen existing circulatory problems and expedite the onset of complications like heart disease, kidney disease, and peripheral arterial disease. Poor circulation also impacts wound healing, which can lead to serious infections, particularly in the legs and feet, and in severe cases, may necessitate amputation.

Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups with healthcare professionals are essential for optimal diabetes management. These appointments monitor your blood sugar levels, determine potential complications, and adjust treatment plans as needed, helping you address any concerns promptly and manage diabetes effectively.

Final Thoughts

Living with diabetes brings its own set of challenges, but with the right lifestyle choices and medical support, you can overcome them. By making key lifestyle changes, you can effectively manage your condition, reduce the risk of complications, and lead a vibrant and fulfilling life.

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