Living with diabetes is a big responsibility, and sometimes a challenging one because there are so many things to keep on top of. You and your doctor form a powerful team, and there’s no question that you play a crucial role in the day-in, day-out management of the condition.
At this time of year, you may be pondering New Year’s resolutions, and great self-care, especially as it relates to your diabetes, may be top of mind. We can help you define what effective diabetes management looks like, and how it doesn’t have to be onerous.
Dr. Gurprit Sekhon helps people living with diabetes become healthier and more empowered. This type of compassionate care is what Nu Wave Medical Center is known for, whether you visit us for your routine annual wellness exam or you’re needing treatment for a condition like high blood pressure.
Why unmanaged diabetes is dangerous
You already know that your body has trouble using insulin, and that this causes high blood sugar. If left untreated or not managed well, diabetes leads to a multitude of other concerning medical conditions.
These include heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease, nerve damage (especially in your feet), and cognitive problems such as dementia. Diabetes also impairs your immune system so you’re more vulnerable to both bacterial and fungal infections, and wounds don’t tend to heal well. This laundry list of complications is reason enough to commit to making good diabetes management your top priority — but we know it isn’t always easy
It’s important for you to know you’re not alone — in our state of Florida, over 2 million adults are living with diabetes. And remember, you can do a lot to stave off these worrisome conditions by taking steps to keep your diabetes well-controlled.
Top tips for effective diabetes management
Dr Sekhon takes the time to explain what you can do to ease your symptoms and work to prevent serious problems in the future.
1. Eat well
Controlling diabetes means eating fruits and veggies and avoiding sugary processed foods and drinks, but it also involves managing your carbohydrate intake, which greatly impacts your blood sugar levels. Familiarizing yourself with portion sizes and measuring your food carefully at each meal helps you do this.
Good-for-you carbs include fruit, whole grains, and vegetables. Balancing your food with your medications, whether insulin or some other type, is critical as well. Too little food with your meds puts you at risk for low blood sugar, while too much means your blood sugar may rise to an unhealthy level.
2. Keep moving
Daily exercise helps your body use insulin efficiently, and the higher intensity your exercise session is, the longer its positive effects last. You don’t have to be a triathlete to reap the movement’s positive effects, however. Even walking your dog, gardening, and cleaning your house are good.
Dr. Sekhon can help you by talking about timing your exercise so it best complements your medication and meal times, reviewing what healthy blood sugar levels are for you, and highlighting the importance of monitoring your blood sugar level before, during, and after exercise.
Staying hydrated when you work out is important, too, as dehydration impacts your blood sugar levels.
3. Consider your alcohol intake
Talk to Dr. Sekhon about whether you should drink alcohol at all. A drink every once in a while might be alright, but alcohol can exacerbate certain diabetes symptoms, like nerve damage and vision problems.
If you have a drink, check your blood sugar before bed, because it can lower your level. If this is the case, have a pre-bedtime snack.
4. Say goodbye forever to tobacco
We know smoking is terrible for our bodies for so many reasons that don’t have to do with diabetes, but the habit increases your risk for diabetes complications like heart disease, kidney disease, and the eye disease retinopathy, as well as peripheral neuropathy.
5. Tame your stress
Stress isn’t just an emotional problem; it affects your physical well-being as well. It can actually raise your blood sugar levels, and it contributes to behaviors that don’t align with sound diabetes management, like drinking too much, eating unhealthy foods, and ignoring exercise.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce stress, including adopting a mindfulness practice like meditation, spending time with your favorite people, and going to therapy or a support group.
We’re here to help you live your best life, and if you’re living with diabetes, seeing Dr. Sekhon on a regular basis to monitor it, and adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, are key.
Call our Panama City Beach Parkway office at 850-493-6948 to schedule an appointment, or use our convenient online booking tool.