Keep a close, constant eye on your health.
Meet with your physician regularly, at least twice a year. Know your goal blood sugar and A1C levels. Test your blood sugar regularly, write down your results, and when you meet with your healthcare team, let them know how your numbers have been.
Be sure to take any diabetes medication at the correct time of day and in the exact dose as prescribed by your physician. If you have trouble remembering to take your medications, try setting an alarm on your cell phone to remind you.
Other medications like statins (to control cholesterol), steroids (to control asthma), and diuretics/water pills (to control blood pressure) can all raise blood sugar levels. If you use any of these other medications, be sure to track your blood sugar even more closely. If you notice that your blood sugar is trending high, speak with your physician; some of your prescriptions may need to be adjusted.
Choose fresh, quality foods and drink plenty of water
The food recipe for health is simple – eat protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables high in fiber, while avoiding processed foods and refined sugars. Simple right?
Water is critical to each and every body process. From the transportation of nutrients throughout the body, to regulating body temperature, digesting food, and more. A generous goal is to drink half of your body weight in water each day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, make a goal to drink 80 ounces of water every day.
Exercise increases your insulin sensitivity, so your cells are able to make better use of any present insulin and glucose in your body. When your muscles contract during exercise, it stimulates a mechanism allowing your cells to metabolize the glucose in your blood whether insulin is present or not.
The American Diabetes Association recommends some form of exercise at least 3 days a week, and not go more than 2 days in a row without exercising. Think of this journey as a marathon instead of a sprint. You are more likely to succeed long-term if you start slow. Try adding 15 minutes of physical activity per day. Check out these tips on exercising for lower blood sugar.
Be mindful of how vices like smoking and alcohol may affect your blood sugar
Smoking is not a healthy habit for anyone, but diabetics are at increased risk of suffering smoking’s dangerous effects. Research has found that A1C levels rise with repeated exposure to nicotine. Long-term elevated blood sugar levels increase the risk of serious complications like kidney failure, heart attack, or stroke.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “moderate drinking” includes: up to one drink a day for women of all ages, up to one drink a day for men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
So what does “one drink” mean? One drink is defined as: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Beer can be high in empty carbs and calories. When it comes to liquor, mix with soda water or seltzer instead of soda or fruit juice to keep sugar levels lower. Avoid pre-mixed drinks like malt beverages or margaritas as they are full of sugar. Choose red wine over white for lower blood sugar and a dose of heart-healthy antioxidants.
When you’re stressed, your blood sugar raises higher. As part of the body’s response to stress, the hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol is actually known as the body’s “stress hormone.” It raises blood sugar and instructs the body’s cells to either absorb that extra glucose for immediate energy, or store it for later. Frequent high cortisol levels can contribute to insulin resistance, increasing risk of Type II diabetes.
Take a few moments every day to simply rest and breathe. By practicing stress-reduction techniques, we can lower the toll on our minds and bodies. Meditation and prayer are two more ways to calm your spirit and relax. Or give yoga a try to combine exercise and meditation in one. Keep at it until you find relaxation techniques that work for you!