6 Ways to Prevent and Manage Diabetes
Simple ways to prevent and manage diabetes
By Tracy Dye
Diabetes has become a prevalent issue in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29.1 million Americans suffer from some form of diabetes and 86 million Americans have prediabetes.
November is National Diabetes Month. Below are some tips on preventing and managing diabetes.
- Meet with your doctor regularly
You general care practitioner can help you navigate the best way to manage your diabetes based on your type and individual health history. Your doctor can also recommend medications and tests that are necessary for those diagnosed with diabetes. Your doctor may also recommend appointments with a dietician and/or other healthcare professionals to help construct a management plan that is best for you.
Columbia Association’s NewU physician-referral programs also offer opportunities to complement your personal health plans.
- Take care of your eyes and teeth
People with diabetes are more susceptible to issues with their oral health and vision. Along with visits to your physician, make sure to schedule appointments with your dentist and ophthalmologist.
- Eat a healthful, high-fiber diet
Good nutrition is an integral part of preventing and managing diabetes. Contrary to what you may have heard, sugar and sweets are not off-limits when you are a diabetic. However, it is important to eat certain foods sparingly and that healthy, nutrient-dense foods comprise the majority of your diet.
Examples of nutrient-dense foods include:
- Beans and legumes
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grain and whole wheat products
- Lean meats like chicken and fish
- Skim and low-fat dairy products
Avoid processed foods and simple sugars, like sodas, candy and white flour. Although fat is essential for any diet, foods that are high in saturated fat can also be harmful.
- Practice portion control
American portion sizes have increased exponentially over the past few decades. With so much super-sizing, it can be easy to inadvertently overeat and take in more calories, sugar and fat throughout the day.
The American Diabetes Association offers resources on understanding appropriate serving sizes so that you can practice healthy, moderate eating easily. You can also use this interactive tool to build a healthy plate.
- Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is important for all individuals and it is an essential part of diabetes prevention and management. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Even during colder months, there are several ways you can stay active:
- Rake leaves
- Shovel snow
- Clean the house
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Take a brisk walk
- Sign up for a group fitness class or mind body class
Members of any of Columbia Association’s three fitness facilities can also work out independently, rain or shine.
Regardless of your exercise(s) of choice, the important thing is that you get moving.
- Avoid too much stress
Intense stress can cause blood glucose levels to rise, which is very detrimental to those with diabetes. Encountering stressful situations is unavoidable. Putting the items on this list into practice will help to reduce stress, along with the following:
- Getting enough sleep
- Practicing mind body exercises like yoga
- Finding humor in different situations
- Talking to friends and family
- Practice deep breathing