Diabetes management is a lot more than just diet and exercise

April 4, 2018Diabetes Care

Diabetes management is a lot more than just diet and exercise

April 4, 2018

We all know that for effectively managing diabetes the first step is to limit your sugar intake. But, only controlling sugar does not help in controlling its progress in our body. Eating healthy and doing exercise is just not enough if one has diabetes. One needs to adopt a holistic approach in counteracting this disease.

Firstly, one needs to get their ABCs right, which imply managing your ‘A’ for HbA1c, ‘B’ for Blood Pressure, ‘C’ for Cholesterol, and ‘s’ for stopping the habit of smoking. Strive for the following (recommended by American Diabetes Association guidelines, 2017)

Type of measure Reading
Hb1Ac HB1Ac: Under 7.0

% Glucose levels of 70-130 mg/dl before meals and <180 mb/dl after meals

Blood pressure (BP) Systolic BP- 140 mmHg; Diastolic BP – 90 mmHg
Cholesterol HDL level < 35 mg/dL (0.90 mmol/L)

Triglyceride level >250 mg/dL (2.82 mmol/L)

Stop Smoking Studies indicate that diabetic smokers were at ~1.5 times more risk of clogged arteries, heart failure, & reduced blood flow to limbs, to non-smoker diabetics

(Consult your healthcare provider to find out what applies to your specific condition)

Many a times, your doctor may advise a few medications to keep all the above under check. Remember, it is foremost important for you to take those medicines as prescribed without any fail, as these are designed to ensure that your diabetes and linked diseases do not go out of control.

Once, ABCs are in line, focus on other aspects of your life, with a few of them as mentioned under:

  • Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can lead to dangerously low blood glucose levels as well as side effects when mixed with diabetes medication. It’s always better to entirely give it up. even in situations where you can’t avoid it moderation is a must.

    This implies not more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men. One drink refers to 350 ml beer or 240 ml malt liquor or 150 ml wine or 44ml of a hard liquor (vodka, gin, whiskey).

  • Manage your stress levels: Under stress, one’s body tends to release extra glucose to cope up with the cause of stress, which worsens your diabetic control. Various studies indicate that diabetics are less able to bring their blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels back to normal after a stressful test, compared to otherwise healthy comparable adult.

    Hence, it important to de-stress yourself by either meditation, or picking up a hobby or joining a support group.

  • Ensure a good night’s sleep: Often, lack of good sleep can prove damaging for your diabetes as enough sleep helps body to de-stress, heal and repair itself. Additionally, sleep deprivation is linked with raised levels of Cortisol hormone which triggers insulin resistance.

    In case you are facing difficulty in sleeping try to relax yourself before going to bed. Don’t watch loud or disturbing TV or movies in the evening or in bed. Make sure your room is a comfortable temperature and is protected from light and noises as much as possible. Further, you can talk to your healthcare provider to find a solution for your sleep trouble.

Adopting such simple measures would not only help you manage your diabetes better but would also help you to lead a healthier and longer life. Remember, eating a proper diet and regular exercising would be more effective for controlling your diabetic condition only when all the above are also observed.


Diabee is your ever-present Diabetes Coach, helping you keep your diabetes always under control.

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