Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Uncontrolled cases can lead to blindness, kidney dysfunction, heart disease, and other serious conditions.
Before diabetes is diagnosed, there is a period when blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to receive a diagnosis. It is known as prediabetes.
It is estimated that up to 70% of people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, prediabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes is not inevitable.
You can control your diabetes and live a long, healthy life by taking care of yourself every day. Diabetes can affect almost any part of your body. So, you will need to manage your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar. Controlling your blood glucose level and your blood pressure and cholesterol can help prevent health problems that can occur with diabetes.
Although certain factors cannot be changed, such as your genetics, your age, or your past behavior, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing it.
Two important indicators of diabetes control are glycosylated hemoglobin and blood glucose levels. Measuring glycosylated hemoglobin requires a blood test at the physician’s clinic, but a person can measure blood glucose at home.
Doctors recommend that people take insulin to check glucose levels. The correct frequency of these checks varies from person to person, but doctors usually recommend checking levels before and after meals, at bedtime, and before exercise.
People with diabetes who do not take insulin should also check their blood sugar levels. Self-monitoring can provide information about the effects of dietary changes, physical activity, and medications on blood sugar levels.
With a blood glucose meter, a person can measure their blood sugar levels at any time.
There are also continuous glucose monitors that provide real-time blood sugar levels. These automatically measure levels every 5 minutes through a small sensor inserted under the skin.
When used properly by an individual, this technology can improve medical outcomes.
A health care team can use home blood sugar readings to modify medication, diet, and personal management plans.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
People with diabetes or prediabetes need to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. When doctors closely monitor weight loss progress, a person is more likely to reach his or her goals.
Research suggests that, among overweight people, modest and consistent weight loss can help control type 2 diabetes and slow the rate at which prediabetes develops into diabetes.
They also indicated that adjusting diet can reduce glycated hemoglobin levels by 0.3 percent to 2 percent in adults with type 2 diabetes. Diet therapy can also lead to improvements in quality of life.
The ADA recommends consulting with a registered dietitian with expertise in diabetes and weight management to facilitate these lifestyle adjustments.
Following a meal plan can be among the most challenging aspects of diabetes self-management. Developing a project with a registered dietitian knowledgeable about diabetes-specific eating can be helpful.
For some people, dietary changes alone are not enough to control blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a progressive disease, which can worsen over time. The ADA recommends using a combination of medication and dietary therapy to achieve blood sugar goals.
The basis of meal planning includes portion control and preferring healthy foods. A diabetes plate method is designed to help people control their calorie and carbohydrate intake.
It involves mentally dividing the plate into three sections. Half of the plate should contain non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter of the container can contain grain and starchy foods, and the other quarter should contain protein.
Research has shown that exercise can help control blood sugar levels, reduce cardiovascular risk factors, promote weight loss, and improve well-being.
Researchers behind one study determined that participating in a structured exercise program for at least eight weeks reduced glycosylated hemoglobin levels by an average of 0.66 percent in participants with type 2 diabetes.
The ADA recommends exercising for at least 10 minutes per session and getting a total of at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
If a person exercises every day or leaves no more than two days between exercise routines, this can help reduce insulin resistance.
Members of a diabetes care team can help develop and design an exercise plan that is safe and effective.
In addition to exercising regularly, it is important to avoid sitting for prolonged periods. Breaking sedentary periods every 30 minutes can help control blood sugar.
Abstaining from smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes reduce the diameter of blood vessels. The narrowing of the blood vessels makes the heart must work harder. E-cigarettes are also not good.
If you quit smoking, you can:
- lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, nerve disease, kidney disease, diabetic eye disease, and amputation.
- improve your cholesterol and blood pressure
- improve your blood circulation
- make it easier for you to be physically active
People with diabetes who smoke have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, premature death, and diabetes complications, as well as less blood sugar control than non-smokers.
Take Medicine Regularly
Nonadherence is a medical term used when medication is not taken as prescribed. If a person with diabetes does not take his or her medications as recommended by the physician, it can cause:
- lower rates of success in achieving clinical goals
- increased complications
- increased chance of premature mortality
- higher overall health care costs
A variety of problems can contribute to medication nonadherence. Some may be related to psychological, demographic, and social factors. Key elements may include the cost of treatment and difficulties with physicians and the health care system.
People who have a good support network are more likely to take their medication as prescribed. Uncertainty about the seriousness of diabetes and the effectiveness of a treatment plan can cause a person to stop taking their medication, and this can cause complications.
Uncertainty about the seriousness of diabetes and the effectiveness of a treatment plan can cause a person to stop taking their medication, and this can cause complications.
Nonadherence appears to be more common among people with chronic diseases with no obvious symptoms. Also, following complex treatment plans can be a difficult process.
The quality of the patient-physician relationship is often a key factor in nonadherence. Physicians need to address a person’s reasons for not following the treatment plan.
Likewise, it is important to discuss concerns about diabetes treatment with the physician, who can adjust the plan to help ensure that you reach your goals and that complications do not develop.
Take Care of Your Feet
Diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your feet. This damage causes numbness and reduced sensation in your feet. As a result, your feet are more prone to injury and may not heal well if you get hurt. If you get a blister, you may not feel it, and it may get worse.
They need to be checked every day for any small scratches, wounds, or redness. If you detect injuries to the feet, do not handle them and consult the healthcare personnel who treat you.
Even small sores or blisters can become a problem if an infection develops or does not heal. A diabetic foot ulcer can develop. For people with diabetes, having a foot ulcer is reason enough to go to the hospital. Taking good care of your skin will help prevent diabetic foot ulcers. Untreated diabetic foot ulcers are the most common cause of toe, foot, and leg amputations in people with diabetes.
Follow your health care provider’s instructions on how to care for your feet. Use the following information as a reminder.
Check your feet every day. Inspect the tops, sides, soles, heels, and between the toes. Look for:
- Dry, cracked skin
- Blisters or ulcers
- Bruises or cuts
- Redness, warmth, or tenderness (often absent because of nerve damage)
- Firm or hard spots
- If you can’t see well, ask someone to check your feet.
- Wash your feet every day with lukewarm water and mild soap. Harsh soaps can damage the skin.
- Check the water temperature first with your hands or elbow.
- Gently dry your feet, especially between the toes.
- Use lotion, petroleum jelly, and lanolin coloring. Do not put lotion, oil, or cream between your toes.
- Ask a healthcare professional to show you how to trim your toenails.
- Soak your feet in warm water to soften the nail before trimming.
- Cut the nail straight across because curved claws are more likely to become ingrown.
- Make sure the edge of each nail does not press into the skin of the next toe.
Do not try to cut only thick toenails. Your podiatrist (podiatrist) can trim the nail if you cannot. Do not trim your toenails yourself if you have thick, discolored toenails (fungal infection). If you have poor vision or poor sensation in your feet, you should seek the attention of a podiatrist to trim your nails to avoid possible injury.
Drink Coffee or Tea
Although water should be your primary beverage, research suggests that including coffee or tea in your diet can help you avoid diabetes. Studies have reported that daily drinking coffee reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 8% to 54%, with the greatest effect generally seen in people with the highest consumption.
Another review of several studies involving caffeinated tea and coffee found similar results, with the greatest risk reduction in overweight women and men. Coffee and tea have antioxidants known as polyphenols that may help protect against diabetes.
In addition, green tea contains a unique antioxidant compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which has been shown to reduce the release of blood sugar from the liver and increase insulin sensitivity.
You have control over many of the factors that influence diabetes. Instead of viewing prediabetes as a steppingstone to diabetes, view it as a motivator to make changes that can help reduce your risk.
Eating the right foods and adopting other lifestyle behaviors that promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will give you a better chance of avoiding diabetes.