Being told you have diabetes may lead to an array of feelings and concerns that can make you feel very alone. But every year, 1.5 million Americans get the same diagnosis, which means you’re not alone, and there are many people just like you struggling with the same emotions and fears.
Unlike many other chronic health conditions, you can’t just take a pill to manage your diabetes. Getting your blood sugar levels under control requires your active participation. But many of the changes you need to make to manage your diabetes can improve your overall health, too.
At Ross Bridge Medical Center, our primary care specialist Dr. Madhav Devani, wants you to know how life changes after your diabetes diagnosis and all the benefits that come with it.
You become a nutrition expert
There are a lot of misconceptions about diet and diabetes, and you may be thinking that you’re going to now have to follow a complicated diet filled with special food you won’t like. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Yes, what you eat affects your blood sugar. But the diet recommended for diabetes is the same healthy diet that everyone should be eating and includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups. The only difference is that you need to be a little more aware of the foods that affect blood sugar, namely the carbohydrate-containing foods such as starches, grains, fruits, and milk.
Eating too many carbohydrates at one time can cause a spike in blood sugar. You don’t need to cut carbs out of your diet, but you do need to eat a consistent amount at each meal throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels even.
You may need to meet with a registered dietitian or attend a diabetes class to learn more about how food affects blood sugar and how you can structure your meals to keep blood sugar in control.
Your fitness level improves
Regular exercise is also an important part of the treatment plan for diabetes. When you’re active, your body burns up extra sugar for energy, which helps improve your blood sugar levels. Exercise also helps your insulin work better.
At Ross Bridge Medical Center, we can design an exercise program that suits your fitness level. Don’t worry, you don’t need to run a marathon or spend hours at the gym to get the benefits. Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk, five days a week can have a significant impact on your diabetes.
Regular exercise also improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, boosts mood, and raises energy levels.
You learn how stress affects health
Stress in all of its forms — from tight deadlines at work to fighting off a cold — can raise your blood sugar levels. Learning how to manage stress not only improves your blood sugar, but also your overall health.
With emotional stress, we recommend you closely track stress levels and blood sugars. You may soon begin to see a pattern, which can help you develop techniques to better manage your stress, such as setting limits and prioritizing tasks. Regular exercise and meditation can also improve stress levels and blood sugar.
Being sick also places extra stress on the body and may affect blood sugar. We can help you develop a sick day plan that includes blood sugar monitoring, medication, and diet to help you kick your cold without complicating your diabetes.
You create a routine
You may find your new life with diabetes a struggle at first. But as time goes on, you’ll see that your diabetes has helped you master a healthy routine. You eat healthy foods at set times throughout the day and engage in regular activity. You may also find that your healthy routine helps reduce stress.
A diabetes diagnosis is life-changing. But the changes you need to make to manage your diabetes are positive. For expert primary care, contact us at Ross Bridge Medical Center. Call our office in Hoover, Alabama, or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.