7 Vital lifestyle adjustments for diabetes

Living with Diabetes is a challenge. With an estimated 50.8 million people in India living with diabetes, it is imperative to establish a proper module for timely diagnosis and effective treatment.

Diabetes, a chronic condition, is characterized by elevations in the blood sugar level. If not controlled in time, it can lead to a number of debilitating complications like heart attack, cataracts and deep skin ulcers. Almost 80 percent of the condition (particularly type 2 Diabetes) can be controlled with a few basic lifestyle changes. Here are 7 vital lifestyle adjustments that every diabetic needs to make.

The first factor to consider while planning lifestyle modifications for diabetes control is, to identify what to eat and when. It is not only important to eat a balanced diet but also to establish a steady, regular meal schedule. This will help you prevent excessive elevations in body glucose levels and control the condition. Besides this, a standard meal for a diabetic patient should include high proportions of unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. Also, avoid foods rich in saturated fats and cholesterol due to increased risk of coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis.

Weight management:
Weight loss is an important goal for people suffering from Diabetes (especially Type II diabetes). This is because obesity increases the blood glucose concentrations and the resistance to insulin, thereby complicating the management of the condition. A proper weight-loss program enables such patients to improve their glycemic control. This, in turn, prevents the complications arising due to obesity like hypertension and cardiovascular disease. At the same time, it also reduces a patient's dependency on diabetic medications, improve the insulin action and decrease the fasting blood glucose concentrations.

Relaxation therapies:
Did you know that stress and anxiety can also place you at a higher risk for developing diabetes? Strange but true. Stress increases the release of the pituitary hormone ACTH which, in turn, promotes the release of cortisol hormone from the adrenal glands. This hormone, also termed as the stress hormone, indirectly affects the blood glucose level in the body. Thus, it is vital to reduce stress by relaxation and deep breathing techniques to prevent the complications arising due to Diabetes.

Diabetes foot care: Nerve damage due to diabetes may make you less able to feel any kind of injury or damage to your foot until the onset of serious infections. Hence, if you have the disease, it is important to undergo frequent foot examination to know if you have any kind of nerve damage. Apart from this, you should also wash your feet and hands every day with mild soap and lukewarm water. Following this, gently dry your feet, particularly in between the toes. This will help you prevent the development of infection in moist areas. Also, wear comfortable shoes made of leather or suede and use dry, clean socks as an extra layer of protection.

Regular sleep pattern:
Just like food habits, it is important to establish a regular sleeping pattern for a patient with diabetes. This can especially help you prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Deprivation of sleep can directly elevate your glucose levels and increase the production of the stress hormone - cortisol. To avoid this, establish a regular pattern of 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Stop smoking:
Besides causing serious health hazards, tobacco products can also affect the flow of blood in the body. Affected circulation can further complicate the impact of diabetes and lead to severe consequences. So, to prevent further physical deterioration, adopt a healthy lifestyle and quit using cigarettes or any tobacco containing products.

Fitness management:
A crucial lifestyle modification to help you overcome the effects of Diabetes, is establishment of a regular exercise regime. According to studies, people with diabetes who exercise regularly are less likely to develop any complications like stroke or heart attack. However, consult your doctor before embarking on a new fitness program.

(Source: Hope4Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, Lifestyle Modification of Diabetes report)

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