When you have diabetes, your body can’t use insulin properly or produce enough of the hormone. Because insulin helps keep your blood sugar levels in a positive place and keep you energized and functioning well, low levels can lead to a range of issues. On the milder end, these issues include fatigue and increased appetite or thirst. Over time, you can develop serious conditions, such as vision loss, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to prevent these complications and lead a full, healthy life when you have diabetes.
Dr. Javier Sosa and our expert team at Woodlands Primary Healthcare, located in The Woodlands, Texas, help prevent and manage chronic conditions so you can maintain optimal health. Here, we explore important lifestyle choices to help you better tend to your diabetes.
Eating a healthy diet
While you can still eat your favorite foods and manage diabetes, aiming for appropriate amounts, nutritious staples, and good balance is essential. At each meal, have a mix of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fat, and starches.
Meanwhile, stay mindful of your carbohydrate sources. Those that lack fiber, such as white bread and candy, can spike your blood sugar, especially if you consume them without low-glycemic foods. Focus primarily on fiber-rich options, like whole-grain bread, leafy greens, and lentils.
Examples of low-glycemic foods with a mild impact on blood sugar levels include:
- Most vegetables
- Fruits, such as apples, blueberries, and oranges
- Nuts and seeds
- Yogurt and milk
Staying physically active can help you manage diabetes by lowering your blood sugar. A healthy exercise routine also guards against heart disease, which is more likely when you have diabetes. Aim for about 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise on most days. The activity should make you sweat and breathe a bit harder than you do while resting.
Especially helpful activities include:
- Resistance band exercise
- Weight lifting
Getting adequate sleep
Sleeping enough each night is important for everyone but especially so when you have diabetes. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night can lead to:
- Difficulty losing excess weight
- Greater risk for anxiety and depression
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased insulin resistance
- Increased appetite
- Increased risk for heart attack
- Weakened immune function
Cultivate healthy sleep habits by establishing a basic bedtime and waking routine, sleeping in a dark room, and avoiding digital screens before bed.
Following your medical plan
Staying in touch with your care team and following recommended lifestyle and medical guidance are essential for managing your blood sugar and overall health. Aim to see your provider twice per year or more if you notice any health symptoms.
If you’re struggling to manage the effects of diabetes, our team can help by adjusting your treatment plan as needed. We can also detect and address problems you may not have yet noticed before they get worse.
To learn more about diabetes or get the support you need, call Woodlands Primary Healthcare, located in The Woodlands, Texas, or request an appointment with Dr. Sosa on our website today.