Developing harmful habits when you have diabetes can worsen your condition and lead to other health issues. Learn which habits to drop and which to develop in order to achieve optimum well-being. With a bit of thought and effort you can keep the symptoms of diabetes and related complications controlled.
- The first step is to get rid of obvious bad habits such as smoking. Smoking can lead to health problems including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. People with diabetes are already more prone to developing these health conditions. Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Talk to your doctor to find out what smoking and/or drinking can do to your health. Join a support group to help you stop these habits.
- Maintain a journal that includes the results of your blood sugar testing as well as the foods you eat. This helps to keep your blood sugar and body weight under control- two crucial factors for people with diabetes. Observe your own eating behaviors to help you make better food choices. Maintain a healthy body weight as part of an effective diabetes self-management plan. Even losing 10 pounds can make a difference. Share your journal during medical exams to help get recommendations for lowering your blood sugar and better eating habits.
- Make sure to sleep between 7-8 hours every night. You should get several uninterrupted hours of sleep daily. If you wake up feeling tired or snore loudly you might have sleep apnea. People with diabetes are more likely to develop this condition. Symptoms include loud snoring, pauses in snoring and breathing and gasping for air. If you think you might not be getting enough sleep, talk to your doctor.
- Take good care of your teeth and gums. People with diabetes may have higher levels of glucose in their saliva which can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Brush at least 2- 3 times each day and floss daily. Visit your dentist regularly for routine exams and cleanings. People with diabetes are also prone to developing eye problems. Schedule an annual appointment with an ophthalmologist to get a complete examination.
- Proper foot care is essential when you have diabetes. Some people with diabetes have neuropathy which means they get a numb or tingling sensation in their feet due to nerve damage. Wash your feet each day and dry them using a soft, absorbent towel. Wear diabetic socks and shoes that fit properly. Always wear shoes, including slippers at home and water shoes at the pool or beach. Check your feet each day for sores, blisters, swelling and other problems. Talk to your doctor or podiatrist about any irregularities.
- Change your lancet each time to make it easier to draw blood and reduce the germs going into your body. Keep plenty of diabetes supplies on-hand including test strips to accurately test your blood sugar.
- Stay away from unhealthy foods including fatty snacks, processed foods, and sugary goodies. Opt for healthy choices such as fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and, lean meats and fish. Keep sugar-free candy handy to combat cravings especially when you go to parties. Remember to watch carbohydrates as well as sugar and fat content in foods. Stop drinking regular soda and depend on simple beverages such as water. Have at least three meals and two snacks each day. Make sure to fit breakfast into your daily routine.
- If you have a sedentary job or lifestyle it’s time to start moving. Get out of your chair and do a few stretches during the day. Take a walk during your lunch hour. Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Harmful habits can make people with diabetes even more prone to health problems such as high cholesterol, heart disease and more. A few simple lifestyle changes can go a long way. Replace harmful habits with healthy ones to look and feel your best.