Living with type 2 diabetes is difficult not because of its severity, but in the need for constant vigilance. Those who are recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes often struggle to align with the newfound requirements of their illness—which can result in some disastrous consequences.
Fortunately, there are many ways to combat the pervasive disease—as well as many techniques you can use to mitigate the fluctuation of blood sugar and keep your diabetes in check. From diet to doctors and everything in between, here are just a few ways you can ease the stress of living with type 2 diabetes.
- Set Up A Food Blacklist (and Whitelist)
Most people already know that a major part of combating diabetes is the need to keep blood sugar in check through food and insulin shots. Luckily, figuring out which foods are right for you is no longer a guessing game.
Many online publications maintain a ledger of foods that are ranked on what’s called the Glycemic Index (GI). A food’s specific GI tells diabetics and those sensitive to blood sugar spikes just how much they can expect their blood sugar to be affected after ingestion.
After using the GI system for several months, you’ll become an expert in which foods are best for you with your newfound condition. In the meantime, setting up a food blacklist and whitelist will help you know which foods will best help you.
Managing your blood sugar before feeling any ill-effects will keep you from having to check yourself constantly throughout the day.
- Drop The Extra Pounds
Weight loss isn’t easy, but it’s one area in which just a little bit of effort will go a long way in either minimizing wild blood sugar swings or preventing diabetes altogether.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reports that losing only 5-7% of your body weight can lower the risk of those with prediabetes to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. If you already have diabetes, that loss of weight allows your body to improve blood circulation and manage more blood sugar on its own.
Losing weight improves your health in more ways than one, so diabetic or not, try to increase your physical activity throughout the week. Chances are high that you’ll need it more than you think.
- Update Your Prescriptions
You’re not limited only to shots and food to manage your blood sugar. Talking to your doctor about prescription medication will help alleviate you of the constant vigilance required to combat the disease.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) provides a wonderful guide for newly diagnosed diabetics to help them better understand what can be done, and what questions to ask. Medications like Januvia and Janumet encourage your body to release natural substances that will induce insulin and keep your blood sugar at manageable levels.
Talk to your doctor about the prescription medications you’re currently taking, and see if you’re eligible to go on Januvia or a similar product. Worried about Januvia cost? Perhaps a pharmacy discount coupon code could help make sure your diabetes medication doesn’t break the bank.
Under the right supervision, medication can prove to be a valuable tool to use in conjunction with other forms of diabetes mitigation so don’t skip out on that doctor’s visit.
- Check Your Sleeping Habits
The value of a good night’s rest cannot be overstated but there’s more to sleep than getting in the required hours. As a diabetic, maintaining blood sugar homeostasis lessens your risk of a stroke or heart attack. Unfortunately, all that hard work can go to waste if you’ve developed sleep apnea.
We now know that sleep apnea, a condition in which you stop breathing momentarily in your sleep is a major contributor and indicator of a future stroke or heart attack. We also know that those with diabetes are at higher risk of developing the condition.
Talk to a spouse about your sleeping habits in the night and whether or not your snore or sound short of breath. If you don’t have a spouse, a simple recorder or phone app can check in on you during the night.
Getting ahead of sleep apnea and taking preventative measures will lessen your risk of developing insidious diseases. And as a silver lining, you may get a better night’s rest.
- Keep Your Mind Happy
Even though diabetes is commonly diagnosed and well-treated, it’s not always easy to be handed a chronic disease. So much of the stress of living lies in your mind, so if you’ve been experiencing prolonged feelings of sadness, elevated stress, or similar symptoms since your diagnosis, it may be time to seek out a therapist.
Despite a lukewarm reputation in the American media, therapy isn’t worthless—in fact, there are peer-reviewed studies that show how talking to a therapist about diabetes and other conditions can dramatically improve your quality of life.
We can do all we can to lower our weight or control food intake, but if we don’t manage the most important organ of all, we can’t hope to achieve long and healthy life post-diagnosis. Talk to friends and family, get outside, and keep working on a productive and happy mind.
There’s no simple solution we can give you to make diabetes go away. All too often, a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is painful to hear and even more painful to take care of. There are hard roads ahead and hard choices to make concerning your shift in lifestyle.
However, we do hope that through hard work and determination, these tips will help you get ahead of your diagnosis and do everything in your power to not only survive diabetes, but thrive in spite of it.