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The Best Strategies for Managing Diabetes and Glucose Levels

By Brandi Goodman

The Best Strategies for Managing Diabetes and Glucose Levels

When you get diagnosed with diabetes, it can be quite the shock. You’re left with tons of questions, wondering what changes you need to make to your lifestyle.

Doctors at The Joint Chiropractic understand the importance of lifestyle. With some key strategies in mind, you can better learn to manage your diabetes and lead as healthy of a life as possible going forward.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is essentially a disorder that impacts your blood sugar levels. The way that your body uses its glucose supply differs from that of a person without the diagnosis. The American Diabetes Association breaks down both versions, type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 affects people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities. People with this version do not have the ability to produce insulin on their own. Without insulin, stored blood glucose cannot be transported to the cells of the body that require it. Insulin therapy is often required. It is often a long-term or even lifelong condition.

Type 2 Diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are often diagnosed in middle age or later. A family history of the disease and being overweight are two common culprits. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are Latino, Asian American, African American, or American Indian, though it can affect any ethnicity. In this version, your body makes insulin yet doesn’t use it correctly. It is the most common type of diabetes that is diagnosed.

Gestational Diabetes

Yet another form of diabetes is gestational. This only applies to pregnancy. It is quite common, which is why all expecting mothers are tested for it near the end of the second trimester. Certain pregnancy hormones may block the mother’s body from using insulin as needed.

What Health Problems Can Diabetes Cause?

When you first start noticing signs of diabetes, they may be minimal. Extreme thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue are typically experienced. With type 2, you may experience mood changes, vision changes, dry skin, and gum disease. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to worsening health problems. It’s possible to develop:

  • Nerve pain/damage
  • Vision loss
  • Frequent infections
  • Loss of feeling in your feet
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease

How to Manage Diabetes

Learning to manage diabetes can feel tricky, but over time you’ll get used to the changes you must make. With positive lifestyle changes, you can manage the condition and lead a healthy life.

Watch What You Eat

People with diabetes must exercise caution when it comes to what they eat and drink. Part of diabetes care includes meal planning and finding foods that fuel the body rather than hinder it. Healthy fats and olive oils, for example, are good to consume. They can even help lower blood pressure. You’ll want to avoid:

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Added sugar
  • Baked goods
  • Drinking alcohol

Exercise

It is also necessary to work on weight loss, especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Finding safe ways to be physically active is key. Low-intensity options are worthwhile, such as walking or swimming. Once you build up your stamina and energy levels, you can incorporate more activities into your fitness plan. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day is the goal.

Because exercise can lower your blood sugar levels, you want to check your numbers at least before and after each activity. See how your body responds to the particular exercise you’re doing and stop as soon as you feel any signs of lightheadedness, shakiness, weakness, or irritability.

What Foods Should Be in the Diabetic Diet?

A diabetic diet should consist of healthy foods. Nothing processed or with excessive amounts of sugar or carbohydrates should be consumed. Instead, stick with whole grains, healthy fats, low-sugar fruit, and vegetables. You also want to drink mostly water each day, avoiding sugary beverages and too much caffeine.

Breakfast Options

Cereal, pancakes, muffins, and many other traditional breakfast foods can no longer be part of your diet when you have diabetes. You may feel as though your options are truly limited, but plenty of choices still exist. For example, eggs are still a worthwhile breakfast selection. You can make them in a variety of ways to ensure you don’t get bored, including scrambled, sunny side up, over easy, poached, and hard boiled.

You can also try:

  • Greek yogurt with mixed berries
  • Oatmeal made from steel-cut oats
  • Whole grain toast
  • Crustless quiche

Lunch Options

Skip the fast food line and make some homemade lunch options that are better for your body. You can enjoy meals like:

  • A quinoa bowl
  • A turkey veggie wrap
  • Tuna salad
  • Stuffed bell peppers
  • Brown rice
  • A chicken wrap on a whole grain tortilla

Dinner Options

The lunch options also work well for dinner. If you want something more filling on your plate, start with a salad. A lean meat works well for a protein on the side, while you can add another veggie as well, such as a sweet potato. Some other dinners to consider when you want something different include:

  • Salmon with green beans
  • Spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs
  • Salmon and spinach salad with avocado
  • A pulled chicken sandwich on a whole grain bun
  • Peppered tuna kabobs
  • Chicken fajitas on a whole grain tortilla

Snack Options

You’ll still need to stick with healthy choices for your snacks. While it may be tempting to grab a bag of chips or Little Debbies cakes off the shelf, these processed items are bad for your body. Instead, opt for apple slices dipped in peanut butter, a bowl of mixed berries, or carrot sticks. You can still have chocolate once in a while, but opt for a real dark chocolate version and only eat a piece or two. You can also try:

  • Homemade fruit popsicles
  • Frozen grapes
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Cucumbers sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning
  • A sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon

Additional Tips for Dealing With Diabetes

When you’re dealing with diabetes, you may feel stressed and alone. Joining a support group is one of the best ways you can learn to cope. You can discuss your thoughts and feelings with others who truly understand what you’re going through. Plus, you’ll receive additional tips and advice from diabetics who have been on this journey for much longer. Life hacks, right?

Many people are prescribed diabetes medication to keep blood sugar regular. Always be on the lookout for changes to how you feel while on medication, and note any symptoms or unusual experiences you have. Follow your medication plan to a T, as instructed by your doctor. Let them know promptly if you develop any concerns, as it may indicate your dosage or medication type needs to be adjusted.

Add Chiropractic to Your Routine

People with diabetes often experience poor blood circulation and nerve pain. Adding chiropractic care to your routine can help ease some of the symptoms you’re facing.

Stop in at The Joint Chiropractic for an adjustment that can ease some of your stress and help you unwind after a hard day. An optimally functioning nervous system will be beneficial, and full range of motion -- especially among those who may be overweight -- will help maximize the benefits of exercise.

It’s yet another great way to help yourself manage your condition and lead a healthier life.

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