Diabetes is a serious disease that can be the source of a wide variety of complications. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, you should have been informed of the risks by your health care professional. So, you've been given the bad news, but here is the good news: There is a lot you can do to minimize the effects of this disease and help ward off its potential complications. By learning the basics of diabetes health, you can become skilled at managing diabetes, rather than letting the disease manage you.
The first step in developing a healthy lifestyle for type 2 diabetes management or prevention is a healthy eating plan. That means limiting some things in your daily diet, such as sugars and starches, to maintain healthy blood-glucose levels, but also saturated fats and salt, in order to reduce the risk of some of the more dangerous potential complications of diabetes like heart disease and high blood pressure.
Processed foods, like canned or frozen meals, tend to be high in salt, fat and sugars, so avoiding them in favor of fresh foods is wise. Among the foods you'll want to eat more of are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and complex carbohydrates. These foods are nutrient dense and low in calories — the perfect combination for the person striving to gain consistent control over diabetes or pre-diabetes. Seeing a licensed nutritionist can help you devise a sound eating plan for optimal diabetes health.
Physical activity offers a wide range of benefits for diabetes health, as well as enhancing overall health and well-being. Regular exercise can lower blood glucose levels, decrease blood pressure, fight insulin resistance and reduce your risk of heart failure and stroke. It will also give you more energy, improve mood and reduce body fat. Reaping the benefits of regular exercise doesn't mean you have to join a gym and spend your days sweating it out on machines. Choose activities that you enjoy, and you'll find it easier to stick with your daily exercise goals. Walking, bike-riding, swimming — it doesn't matter what you do, so long as you get moving. However, it is important to talk to your health care provider before you begin any new exercise plan.
If you have been prescribed medications, it is essential that you take them as directed, since they are necessary to keep your diabetes under control and minimize its effect on your overall health. However, many people with type 2 diabetes are able, by sticking to a healthy eating plan and getting regular exercise, to reduce or even eliminate the need for diabetes medications. This is a goal that everyone with diabetes should strive for, since these medications, as helpful as they are, do not come without risks.
For instance, Actos, a widely used diabetes drug, carries the risk of several serious side effects, such as increased risk of heart failure, bladder cancer and vision problems. These side effects are most prominent in patients taking larger doses over a longer period of time, so using diet and exercise to reduce your dependence on medication can significantly reduce the risks of harmful effects.
The most important thing to remember is that, while it is a serious condition, diabetes or pre-diabetes is not the end of the world. It just means that you'll have to set your mind on taking better care of yourself. Learning about diabetes heath and making some simple lifestyle changes can help you control diabetes and avoid those complications you've been hearing so much about, ensuring that you can go on living a healthy, active life.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.