Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common diseases, affecting millions of people around the world. It occurs when the cells fail to respond to insulin and do not take up excess glucose. This is not good news since there is extra sugar flowing through your blood and damaging different body parts like your kidneys, heart, eyes, or nerves. This blog will go in-depth and explain different ways for diabetics and prediabetics to alter their daily lives to better manage their blood sugar.
Revival Research Institute is a prominent clinical research organization that carries out diabetes clinical trials across the United States. Our different locations throughout the country are ever-ready to offer participants a chance to make a difference in their and others’ lives.
Lifestyle modifications for Type 2 Diabetes
Doctors suggest that diabetics and prediabetics make different lifestyle modifications that may help them prevent these conditions from progressing. Adopting a good lifestyle lets a person reduce their blood sugar and prevent damage to important organs in their body.
Taking care of what you eat
A balanced and healthy diet is important for everyone, regardless of whether they have type 2 diabetes or not. If one is managing diabetes, it’s important to keep in mind how different types of foods affect their blood sugar levels. This is not only limited to your food choices but also the portion sizes and combinations of food groups you select.
What to do:
- Familiarizing oneself with what a portion size reflects
- Striving for balanced meals.
- Choosing carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as they are low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber, and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Consult with your healthcare team for guidance on optimal food choices and the right balance of food groups.
- Coordinate your meals and medications. It’s important to strike the right balance between food intake and your type 2 diabetes medications, particularly insulin.
- Limit sugary beverages.
Working out for a better tomorrow
Physical activity is another crucial component of managing type 2 diabetes. When you exercise, your muscles utilize glucose (sugar) for energy. Regular physical activity also enhances your body’s insulin utilization.
The intensity of your workout influences the duration of this effect. However, even light activities like housework, gardening, or extended periods of standing can help stabilize blood sugar.
What to do:
- Consult your healthcare provider for an exercise plan. A rule of thumb is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week.
- If you’ve not been active for some time, your doctor may want to evaluate your overall health before recommending an exercise regimen. They can suggest the right mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises.
- You should repeatedly check your blood sugar levels if you take insulin or medications that lower blood sugar.
- Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration, which can affect blood sugar levels.
- Carry a small snack or glucose tablets during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low. Don’t forget to wear a medical identification bracelet.
- Adjust your type 2 diabetes treatment plan as required by your exercise schedule.
Taking medication effectively
Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to regulate blood sugar levels when dietary and exercise measures alone are insufficient for type 2 diabetes management. Medications taken for other conditions can also impact blood sugar levels.
What to do:
- Ensure that your insulin is stored correctly, as improperly stored or expired insulin may lose its effectiveness. Insulin is particularly sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations.
- If your type 2 diabetes medications cause your blood sugar to drop too low or remain consistently high, your dosage or timing may require adjustments.
Precautions during times of illnesses
During illness, your body produces stress-related hormones to combat the illness, which can also elevate your blood sugar levels. Changes in appetite and normal activity patterns can complicate type 2 diabetes management during illness.
What to do:
- Collaborate with your healthcare team to establish a sick day plan. Include instructions on medication usage, frequency of blood sugar and urine ketone monitoring, adjustments to medication dosages, and when to contact your doctor.
- Continue taking your diabetes medications. However, if you’re unable to eat due to nausea or vomiting, you may need to adjust your insulin dose or temporarily reduce or withhold short-acting insulin. During illness, frequent blood sugar monitoring is crucial, and your doctor may advise checking your urine for ketones.
- Adhere to your type 2 diabetes meal plan. If possible, maintain your regular eating habits to manage blood sugar levels.
- Stay well-hydrated by consuming fluids with no added calories, like tea, unless you’re taking insulin.
Avoiding or limiting alcohol
The liver typically releases stored sugar to counteract low blood sugar levels. However, when the liver is processing alcohol, it may not provide the necessary sugar boost to your blood sugar levels. Alcohol can lead to low blood sugar shortly after consumption and can have its effects even after 24 hours.
What to do:
- Seek approval from your doctor for alcohol consumption. If your diabetes is well managed and your doctor concurs, occasional alcohol consumption is acceptable.
- Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach.
- Choose your alcoholic beverages carefully. Light beer and dry wines contain fewer calories and carbohydrates compared to other alcoholic beverages.
- Remember to include the calories from alcoholic beverages in your daily calorie count.
Special considerations during menstruation and menopause
Fluctuations in hormone levels leading up to and during menstruation can result in significant variations in blood sugar levels.
What to do:
- Keep good records of your blood sugar readings from month to month. You may notice changing patterns related to your menstrual cycle.
- Adjust your type 2 diabetes management plan as recommended by your doctor.
- Menopause symptoms can sometimes be confused with low blood sugar symptoms; therefore, one should check their blood sugar before getting treatment for hypoglycemia.
- One should keep in mind that oral contraceptives may raise blood sugar levels in some women.
Prolonged stress can lead to increased production of stress-related hormones, which may elevate your blood sugar levels. Additionally, it can be challenging to adhere to your regular type 2 diabetes management routine when under significant stress.
What to do:
- Keep a log of your stress levels, rating them on a scale of 1 to 10 each time you record your blood sugar levels. You may discover patterns over time.
- Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize tasks, and set limits. When possible, avoid common stressors.
- Explore new coping strategies for dealing with stress.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes an elevation of blood sugar outside of the normal range that may prove to be damaging to the body. The effects of elevated blood sugar are not limited to one but to multiple organs. In this blog, we have highlighted some of the ways that are effective in managing blood sugar. These include taking care of your diet, working out regularly, reducing alcohol, reducing stress, and taking certain precautions during illness, menstruation, or menopause.
Revival conducts multiple clinical trials for type 2 diabetes for individuals who find it hard to manage blood sugar effectively. These trials can potentially help our participants manage their blood sugar and give them a chance to improve their and others’ lives.