Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can be both relieving and depressing news — on the one hand, you now know what’s wrong and can create a treatment plan, but on the other, your whole life has changed instantly. A diabetes diagnosis can also be scary, especially with the COVID-19 risks it carries.
The good news is, there are many things you can do to manage your condition. In fact, here are four tips to help you thrive.
1. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Medical professionals recommend everyone make healthy lifestyle choices, but they’re especially important for people with type 1 diabetes. As a chronic illness, diabetes has to be managed in the long-term, and staying healthy in other areas of your life is a great help.
- Living a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing other chronic illnesses that affect the same systems as diabetes.
- Counting carbs is an important part of keeping your glucose levels within the normal range.
- To record your blood sugar levels, you need an accurate glucose meter and reliable diabetic supplies.
Healthy lifestyles are shown to reduce the risks of developing other illnesses, such as heart disease. Diabetes on its own can damage organs, reduce the efficiency of your immune system and cause inflammation — adding another condition on top of these difficulties only creates mental and physical stress. To give yourself the best chance at health, you should exercise, get enough sleep and avoid smoking.
Exercise should be a top priority for everyone, but people with diabetes can especially benefit. As you may know, exercise (specifically cardio) is good for your heart. Regular exercise can also build and tone muscle, improve your endurance, and increase insulin sensitivity.
The one thing to keep in mind is that when you exercise, your cells absorb glucose from your bloodstream when you exercise, thereby lowering your levels. It’s essential that you closely monitor your glucose during physical glycemia and plan your eating accordingly.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Adults should get an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, though many find it difficult to do so. However, getting adequate sleep is crucial to our health.
Without enough sleep, we can become stressed. When we’re stressed, our bodies try to prepare us to face the danger by flooding us with adrenaline and increasing our heart rates. They also release more glucose into our bloodstreams to ensure our cells have the fuel they need to act quickly. As a result, stress can be a significant factor in high glucose levels.
2. Test Your Glucose Levels Daily
Blood glucose levels change rapidly and often. For example, they can change as a result of any of these factors:
As a result, you should test your blood sugar several times a day:
- Before you eat
- An hour or two after eating
- Before you go to bed
You should also test if you start to feel symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
Get Reliable Supplies
Testing requires several pieces of equipment: testing strips, lancets, and a glucose meter. The first thing to get is the glucose meter. There is a variety on the market, many with useful features such as record tags and averages. Which model you choose depends on your preference, but you may benefit from getting a glucose meter that can read a very small blood sample, as this means you can get away with smaller finger pricks.
Next, you’ll need to order testing strips. Make sure to note what types of strips the meter can accept, otherwise they won’t work, and you’ll have to purchase more.
Finally, you’ll need to order lancets and a lancing device. While it’s possible to use lancets by themselves, the process is more painful and not as efficient, so medical professionals suggest using a lancing device. These are handheld tubes containing a spring, thereby increasing the lancet’s velocity and force, making the pricking process much faster, easier, and less painful.
Record the Results
Seeing your numbers over the long term will allow you to appropriately identify patterns and adjust your behavior. For example, you may notice you routinely experience drops in your blood sugar right before lunch, which may indicate that you need to eat lunch earlier.
Records will also help you recognize whether your diabetes is controlled. Frequent spikes and dips may indicate that you need a medication adjustment to help you stay within normal ranges.
3. Make Thoughtful Choices About Food
What you eat makes a huge difference when you have type 1 diabetes. Certain foods may cause a spike in glucose, leading to hypoglycemia. While insulin injections help your body keep glucose levels within the normal range, it’s crucial that you’re also aware of what you’re consuming and actively working to balance your intake to avoid blood sugar spikes and drops.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is why they can have such a significant impact on your blood sugar levels. To combat sudden spikes, many people with diabetes count their carbs.
For carb counting, you want to track the following:
You can find this information on food labels and nutrient listings; if you’re eating out, many places have this information available if you ask for it. The idea is to limit your carbohydrate consumption to two or fewer servings a meal.
4. See Your Doctor Regularly
Your physician is your partner in diabetes management and your number one resource for information. You should freely ask any questions you have — in fact, you may not even have to wait until your next appointment to do so. Many doctors have a patient portal, which is a secure website where individuals can send messages 24/7. If you’re not sure about any aspect of your treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out, whether it’s by email, phone or appointment.
Notify Your Doctor If You Develop Additional Symptoms
Diabetes can lead to many serious complications:
- Nerve damage
- Fragile blood vessels
That’s why it’s essential to keep track of any new symptoms, increased frequency of symptoms, or worsening symptoms, as they may be a sign of complications. For example, if you have sores on your feet that heal slowly, you need to notify your doctor immediately, as these wounds can quickly become infected.
If you develop new symptoms, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. It’s also important to report symptoms to the specialist to ensure your treatment is adjusted accordingly.
Having reliable access to diabetic supplies is essential to managing your condition, which is why MedEnvios Healthcare is dedicated to providing devices directly to patients. Our home delivery system means you can browse our stock without ever leaving the house, and our friendly customer service representatives are happy to check in and ensure you have enough supplies. For more information, visit MedEnvios online or give us a call at 1-800-489-1625.
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