Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle with Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by a resistance to insulin or an inability to produce an adequate amount of insulin. Because insulin is required by the body to process sugars into energy, people who have this disease struggle to keep blood sugar stable when carbohydrates are consumed.

Someone who is suffering from this form of diabetes has to make lifestyle changes on a long-term basis in order to manage the disease. The following tips will come in handy when managing this disease and getting long-term control over blood glucose levels in the body.

1. Eat a balanced diet.

Balance calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fiber to get the best selection of nutrients. Work with a nutritionist to develop a plan for healthy eating with blood glucose management in mind. Carbohydrates do not have to be given up entirely to manage this disease, though the right carbohydrates have to be chosen and excessive sugars should be avoided.

2. Move more.

Physical fitness can have a great impact on blood sugar control, not only in the short term but the long term as well. Exercise to keep weight controlled, and find reasons to move every day for day-to-day glucose management. As little as 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week, can have an amazing impact on one's ability to manage this disease.

3. Hydrate the body.

Getting enough water is absolutely essential for someone with diabetes. Drink at a minimum eight glasses of water per day to stay properly hydrated. Hydration is essential in maintaining optimum health, which is essential for managing this disease.

4. Monitor blood glucose regularly.

At the very least, blood glucose levels should be checked first thing in the morning and before bedtime. People who take insulin after meals should monitor before and after each meal as well. Follow a physician's recommendations on testing frequency, and track blood sugar levels for long-term control.

5. Take medications as prescribed.

Some patients with this disease take insulin, while others also take daily medications to help manage blood sugar. Follow the prescribed treatment plan to the letter, taking care not to miss dosages or to alter the treatment plan without physician consent. Taking medications is often essential in managing diabetes, especially when looking for long-term results.

6. Watch for symptoms.

There are many complications that can occur due to this disease such as eyesight changes and damage to the nerves in the legs. Watch for symptoms, and report them to a physician immediately so that life-threatening complications can be dealt with as soon as possible.

Some medications can also cause side effects, including Actos. This popular diabetes drug has been linked to bladder cancer and heart failure. So make sure to be vigilant about watching for changes in the body after starting a new medication. Report any changes to a physician immediately.

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Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with type 2 diabetes does not have to be much different than maintaining good health for any other reason.

While people with this disease may be required to test blood glucose, take insulin and take other medications to manage glucose levels, staying healthy and taking care of the body can have a much more profound impact on natural glucose management over a long-term basis.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

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