November is National Diabetes Month, so what better time to focus our attention on helping those with diabetes reduce their risk of serious health complications?
John Monroe, MD, and our talented team at Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, want to help everyone living with diabetes get the care and information they need to manage the condition effectively.
Since an estimated 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, knowing what you can do to lower your risk of developing serious health complications is imperative.
A chronic condition, diabetes affects how your body processes sugar from the food and drinks you ingest. Complications from diabetes can include permanent nerve damage and even blindness, so controlling your blood sugar levels is key.
Here are some critical lifestyle changes you can adopt to reduce your risk of serious health complications from diabetes.
Choose healthy foods
A healthy diet is essential for controlling diabetes. What you eat (and don’t eat) and how much you eat are critically important for controlling blood sugar levels. Select healthier foods that are not converted to sugar in your system and select smaller portions to help you maintain a healthy weight.
Learn which foods raise your blood sugar
Certain foods you eat affect your blood sugar levels. Taking the time to read food labels can help you make better choices at the grocery store, and reading the menu closely can help you make healthier restaurant selections.
Basically, carbohydrates have the biggest effect on your blood sugar, but some carbs are better for you than others. Seek to strike a good balance of vegetables, starches, proteins, and fruits.
Take your prescribed blood sugar medications
If Dr. Monroe prescribes medications to help control your diabetes, take them exactly as prescribed without missing a dose. Neglecting your medications (or taking improper doses) affects your blood sugar levels just like overeating or not eating enough.
We can work with you to help you coordinate daily meal choices and medications so you enjoy a stable blood sugar level throughout the day.
Engage in daily movement and exercise
Regular physical activity helps your body burn the sugar that your muscles need. More sugar used by your body helps you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
And movement and exercise help you maintain a healthy body weight and mass, both of which are key to managing your diabetes. Also, more regular physical activity helps the effects last longer.
Dehydration affects your blood sugar levels and throws everything out of whack. Plus, it impacts your body in numerous other unhealthy ways. Get plenty of water every day, especially when you are engaged in physical activity.
Most medical experts recommend six to eight glasses of water each day.
Track your blood sugar levels
Tracking your blood sugar levels provides vital information to help you adjust your diet and activities accordingly. Be prepared with snacks and your medications in case your levels are inordinately high or low.
Some patients experience sudden drops, while others struggle with levels that spike. We suggest that diabetes patients check their blood sugar levels three times daily before each meal.
Manage your stress
Your body responds naturally to stress by raising your blood sugar levels. This provides the necessary fuel for a fight-or-flight response. Prolonged stress keeps your blood sugar high and can even cause you to neglect your diabetes care routine.
Talk to Dr. Monroe and our team at Healthy Life Family Medicine about ways to reduce your stress. We can recommend some healthy stress-relief techniques you can use to help you manage your blood sugar.
Get the diabetes care you need
Do you struggle with diabetes and keeping your blood sugar at healthy levels? At Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, we offer the help you need to live better and reduce your risk of serious health complications.
Contact us today to schedule an exam and consultation for help with diabetes.