When it comes to diabetes, control is the goal
More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, a quarter of them have not been diagnosed.
That matters because, when controlled, diabetes is a condition you can live with. However, to control it, you must know you have it.
Diabetes occurs when your hormones don’t regulate blood sugar appropriately.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by cells that don’t respond to insulin as they should. They don’t absorb glucose appropriately, leading to fatigue, weight loss, excessive thirst, frequent urination and itchiness. As the disease progresses, your body may produce insufficient levels of insulin.
Type 1 diabetes shows signs in childhood or early adulthood. Your pancreas does not make insulin, necessitating continuous insulin therapy to help the cells learn to use sugar effectively.
When you have diabetes, you face a lifelong balancing act of maintaining healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. It can be a struggle to keep that balance, which is why diabetes specialists, like those at the Providence Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition Center, exist.
“I tell every patient they’re the boss, and I’m just here to help guide them,” endocrinologist Meredith Roth says. “I want to know what their goal is when they come in. For a patient, that might be them saying, ‘I’m ready to get my blood sugars under control,’ and I can help give them a framework and make that into an objective goal that we can work towards together.”
Many of the techniques for controlling diabetes are similar to habits people should have, anyway, but some are unique.
Test your blood sugar
How often you need to test depends on the type of diabetes you have, how often you eat and exercise, how recently you were diagnosed, whether you’re ill, and the medications you take. On average, you may test your blood sugar one to seven times a day, according to Everyday Health.
Eat a balanced diet
Avoiding processed foods and foods high in sugars or carbohydrates helps prevent blood sugar spikes. The better part of your diet should be made up of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats. Aim for snacks with high fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
Recognize the signs of low blood sugar
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, happens when blood sugar levels fall below normal, usually anything less than 70 milligrams per deciliter. Symptoms include shakiness, abnormal nervousness, sweatiness, confusion, lightheadedness, a fast heartbeat, pale skin, hunger, tingling or numbness in your face, clumsiness, nausea, and hunger, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Maintain a healthy weight
The healthier your weight, the easier it will be to control blood sugar levels. If you need to lose weight, it doesn’t have to be a dramatic amount, as WebMD reported. It takes only a seven percent loss to improve insulin sensitivity by 57%.
One simple way to cut calories and, therefore, pounds is to replace foods like white bread and pastries that are high in carbs but low in fiber. Choose healthy fats that come from foods like avocado, flaxseeds, canola oil and nuts.
For more information on how to control your diabetes, call or visit a Providence Health & Services location near you.