Four Ways to Knock Out Diabetes
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Diabetes is a life-changing condition that can be hard to understand and manage. If you are facing a diabetes diagnosis or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, here are four practical things you can do to get your health back under control.
1. Learn to Recognize the Signs of Pre-Diabetes
Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood-glucose levels are higher than normal, but not quite in the diabetes range. Normal blood-glucose levels are lower than 100 mg/dL. Levels of 126 mg/dL or higher are considered diabetic. Anything between 100 and 125 is considered pre-diabetes.
Unfortunately, pre-diabetes is hard to spot. In fact, one in three adults has the condition, but 90 percent do not know they have it. Pre-diabetes does not have many signs, but you can look for risk factors. Risk factors for the condition include:
- Having a body mass index over 25
- Inactive lifestyle
- Over the age of 45
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sleeping less than six or more than nine hours per night
- Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, American Indian or Pacific Islander nationality
If the pre-diabetes progresses into diabetes, you may notice increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision.
2. Make Healthier Food Choices
The food you eat plays a role in your blood-glucose levels. Carbohydrates raise your blood-sugar levels, while fiber helps improve control over blood sugar. Learn to read labels, so you can identify these ingredients. When reading labels, make sure you look at the serving size, and eat accordingly.
3. Set Goals and Understand Your Condition
Understanding blood sugar and insulin is crucial to helping you set goals and learn to control diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that is created in the pancreas and allows the body to properly use sugar from the carbohydrates in the foods you eat. Insulin prevents blood-sugar levels from going too high or too low.
When the cells in your body do not use the insulin you already have, or if the body does not create enough insulin, blood-sugar levels will increase, causing hyperglycemia. Too much food with too little exercise, illnesses, stress and the surge of hormones that happens first thing in the morning can all contribute to this problem as well.
People with diabetes may also struggle with hypoglycemia, or low blood-sugar levels. Missed or delayed meals, too much medication or too little food eaten compared to the amount of insulin taken can all cause this.
Understanding blood sugar and insulin will help you set goals for your blood-sugar levels. For people with diabetes, blood-sugar levels before meals should be 70 to 130 mg/dL. For the one to two hours after meals, blood-sugar levels should increase, but should be less than 180 mg/dL. Learn how to use your insulin treatments and food to stay within this range.
4. Get Active Every Day
Exercise is a crucial part of managing blood-sugar levels. While a workout is a great way to get your activity in, that's not the only option. Making small changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking away from the office entrance, can add up to big changes in your overall activity levels. The more active you are, the better control you will have over your blood-sugar levels.
Whether you are dealing with pre-diabetes and are looking to better control blood sugar-levels so you can avoid diabetes or are facing a diabetes diagnosis, you need an endocrinologist to help. Find a doctor today to learn more about how to properly supervise your condition and take control of your health.
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