HEALTHY LIVING: Living with diabetes

Published 11:20 pm Wednesday, July 29, 2015

While there is no cure for diabetes, it certainly can be managed. Balancing the food you eat with exercise and medicine (if prescribed) will help you control your weight and can keep your blood glucose in the healthy range. This can help prevent or delay complications.
Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes), accounts for 5 to 10 out of 100 people who have diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset or non–insulin-dependent diabetes) can develop at any age. It most commonly becomes apparent during adulthood. But type 2 diabetes in children is rising. Type 2 diabetes accounts for the vast majority of people who have diabetes — 90 to 95 out of 100 people.
First and foremost, see your doctor regularly and follow their orders. Test your blood and take your medicine as prescribed. You can manage your disease and lead a very active and healthy life. But it takes a fine balance of medical maintenance, healthy eating and exercise.
Exercise can be done in some form by everyone in every fitness level. Pick something you like — walking, dancing, biking, swimming or just marching in place while you watch TV. Do it a half-hour a day; work up to that if you need to. Exercise can help you lower your cardiovascular risks, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, and keep your weight down. Exercise also relieves stress and may help you cut back on diabetes medication.
Meeting with a registered dietician will certainly help you to learn what foods fuel the body in the best way. Start small. If you are overweight, shedding just a few pounds can improve the body’s ability to use insulin. It’ll help lower your blood sugar and improve your blood pressure and blood fats. You’ll also have more energy. Aim to burn more calories than you eat.
To start, try cutting fat and calories from your diet, such as chips or fries. Say no to salt. Adults age 51 and older, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should reduce their sodium intake. In general, people with diabetes should decrease to less than 2,300 mgs per day, however your doctor may recommend lower amounts.
Manage stress. When you have diabetes, stress can cause your blood glucose levels to rise. Get rid of whatever physical or mental stresses you can. Learn coping techniques to deal with others. Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation may be especially effective if you have Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes raises your risk of infection and slows healing, so treat even simple cuts and scrapes quickly. If you are doing aquatics exercise, wear water shoes to prevent abrasions from the bottom of the pool.
Break Your Smoking Habit. People with diabetes who smoke are two times more likely to die prematurely than those who don’t.
You can do this. Your life depends on it.
Jody Holton is Marketing Director for the YMCA of Southeast Texas. Contact her at

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