How to Live With Diabetes Without Sacrificing Your Quality of Life
By: Carrie Spencer
How to Live With Diabetes Without Sacrificing Your Quality of Life. It’s often said that diabetes is a silent killer. In many cases, there are no noticeable symptoms until a threshold is reached and it suddenly sneaks up on you. It’s no wonder, therefore, why a whopping 4.9 percent of Australia’s population has diabetes—with millions more who are yet to be diagnosed.
Indeed, diabetes can be a grim diagnosis. However, it is far from hopeless when it can, in fact, be managed for life. So if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can still expect to live a quality life, as long as you take it seriously, take the time to educate yourself, and, above all, take action to keep the disease at bay. The Diabetic Friend explores the ways you can do exactly that.
Change your lifestyle for the better
Following a diabetes diagnosis, you will likely find yourself inundated by advice to change your lifestyle. This is sound advice that you definitely should not ignore. In fact, Mayo Clinic notes effective diabetes management hinges quite heavily on your ability to make healthy decisions in just about every aspect of your life. It’s a tall order, yes, but an undeniably necessary one at that.
Probably the most important lifestyle change you need to take on is to adopt a healthy and balanced diet. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t necessarily mean eschewing certain foods altogether, but rather, learning to control portions and count carbs and calories. No doubt, it doesn’t sound so simple for a novice, but it is much more convenient nowadays thanks to ready-made, healthy food kits you can have delivered to your door.
Your living environment is equally important to a lifestyle change, and you want to make sure you set yourself up for success. So be sure to keep plenty of filtered water, healthy snacks and anything that provides an extra boost for overall health and wellness.
Not too far behind from diet’s boon is its companion; exercise. The importance of regular physical activity simply can’t be overstated, especially for people with diabetes. Not only does it help you control weight, but it’s also been found to boost insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels. People with diabetes who do moderate exercise like walking for just four hours a week lowers their risk of developing heart disease by as much as 40 percent. It’s easy to lose heart when starting and sticking to an exercise regimen, so stay motivated with your favorite upbeat music or motivational podcast streaming to your smartphone.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you have diabetes, you need to stop smoking. Smoking, in itself, already causes several problems, which can be a lot worse with diabetes. Ditto with more than moderate alcohol use, which also comes with potential consequences for diabetics.
Pay more attention to your body
It’s very important to note that diabetes will take a toll on your body, if left unchecked. For this reason, you also need to pay close attention to how high blood sugar affects various parts of your body, which can be just as important as making the right lifestyle changes. Douglas A. Callow, D.D.S., explains that uncontrolled diabetes can cause oral health problems. These, however, can be well-prevented by keeping your blood sugar levels as normal as possible, as well as by practicing good oral hygiene.
Your feet will also be greatly threatened when you have diabetes—so much so that even a small cut could have dire consequences. This is because diabetes causes nerve damage and reduces blood flow to your extremities, making it harder to ward off infection or heal an injury. Needless to say, you really have to give your feet TLC when you have diabetes. It’s simply non-negotiable.
Check in with your mental health.
Lastly, don’t overlook your mental health. It can be all-too-easy to succumb to depression and anxiety following a diabetes diagnosis. Add to these, the stress that comes with the responsibilities of diabetes management, and you could find yourself struggling more than you should. But the fact is, you really don’t have to go it alone. So consider connecting with groups for support and inspiration and even to help keep you accountable for your lifestyle changes.
You can also incorporate different techniques that can make it easier to manage stress. For example, identify your triggers and cultivate a healthy response. This can be in the form of deep breathing exercises or taking a walk. It’s also wise to recognize that stress is an inevitable part of life, so finding ways to manage it is easier than trying to get rid of it altogether.
Suffice to say, diabetes is not a death sentence. Rather, it can be a new lease on a healthier, more active, and more mindful life. As long as you make key lifestyle changes, stay aware of your health, and just keep going, diabetes will simply have no effect on your quality of life.
If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to bookmark The Diabetic Friend today. With a wealth of resources, recipes and insight, we can help you and your friends better understand how to manage this disease.