If you’re one of the millions of people living with diabetes, know that there are ways to deal with the disease and lead a fulfilling, healthy lifestyle. The goal is to have the disease managed so that you suffer as few symptoms as possible. As you grow older, it can be even more challenging to deal with diabetes since there are added complications that you didn’t have in your younger years. And if you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, then you may be adjusting to your new lifestyle changes and accepting the diagnosis.
Familiarize Yourself with Diabetic Care
In order to manage this chronic condition, you will need to adopt a new skill set that allows you to track your numbers and seek emergency care when needed. Here are the following skills that are most important to your diabetic care:
– Recognizing and treating high or low blood sugar
– What types of food to eat and when
– How to take oral medication or insulin
– How to test and record blood glucose levels
– Where to buy diabetic supplies
Eat Right, Exercise Regularly
A key ingredient in managing diabetes is a healthy diet, coupled with regular exercise. Your physician will tell you how much fat, protein and carbohydrates you need in your diet and can help you devise a healthy eating plan.
With type 1 diabetes, you probably already have a consistent eating regimen that works for you and prevents your blood sugar from rising or dropping. With type 2 diabetes, your goal will be to eat a low-fat, well-balanced diet.
Exercising keeps blood sugar levels in control and also helps with weight loss and high blood pressure. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day, but be sure to discuss any new exercise program with your physician.
Diabetics fare best when the exercise is done at the same time each day, and insulin levels should be checked before and after working out. Also be sure to carry a diabetes identification card along with you in case of an emergency.
Find a Support Group
Having a support group is an invaluable tool as you grow older. Find a support group that understands the various problems associated with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
When you have a support network in place, you’ll feel stronger and better able to handle the days where you feel ill. Your support group will also be able to identify with you as you share your struggles of living with diabetes. It’s also important that you continue learning about your condition so that you can better understand its symptoms and be aware of the various treatment options available.
Manage Your Overall Health
In order to keep your diabetic symptoms at bay, you must care for the body as a whole. Have an annual health exam, eye exam and dental exam.
Make sure you get the recommended vaccinations to prevent further illness, including the flu shot. Be sure to manage your stress levels and check your blood pressure regularly.
Also take care of your feet since this part of the body is likely to be affected due to poor blood flow.
Have a Treatment Program in Place
Like any chronic condition, it’s imperative that you have a treatment program in place. A treatment program is essentially an outline of how you plan to treat your condition. Not only is this important for you but also those on your care team.
Know the medications you’re taking, when you plan to check your glucose levels, who will be transporting you to doctor’s appointments and what to do in case of an emergency. Having a treatment plan in place gives seniors a better sense of control over their condition and also serves as a communication tool between you and your care team.