Have you been really thirsty lately?
Have you noticed yourself going to the bathroom a lot more or less than usual?
What about pain and swelling with a fever? Or nausea?
These might just sound like typical symptoms of a cold or the flu to most, but if they persist then you will need to contact a doctor.
What most might not know is that these are all symptoms of diabetes.
If you're a diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetic, your life is going to drastically change, but if you learn how to cope, then you go on living a happy healthy life.
Here are some tips on how to control diabetes from your home.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes usually comes in 2 types…
Type 1 Diabetes
Means that your body simply does not produce insulin. You need insulin.
What is insulin you may ask? Insulin takes sugar from the foods you eat and turns it into energy, which you need to live.
No energy=no life.
Type 1 diabetes is the harder of the two to manage as it requires you to take insulin every day, multiple times per day through injection.
Type 2 Diabetes
Is the more common of the two and much easier to manage.
Type 2 diabetes means that you don't produce or use insulin as well as people without diabetes. This requires you to take pills or injected insulin to help with your diabetes.
There is also a less-common third type of diabetes called gestational diabetes. This occurs in pregnant women, and usually goes away after childbirth, but increases chances of diabetes in the woman and the child later in life.
While having diabetes makes everyday life more difficult for those who have it, it's not unmanageable and you can take steps to maintain your quality of life with just a bit of discipline.
How To Control Diabetes At Home: 6 Tips
1. Know Your Stuff
Despite being manageable, if diabetes is neglected, then the risk of many other severe illnesses skyrockets. Diabetes can cause anything from nerve damage, and mouth problems to blindness, heart attacks, and strokes.
To best avoid this, precautions need to be taken and the first step is to learn what diabetes is and does, and how to keep its effects at bay.
Here are the diabetes ABC's
A: The A1C test.
You will probably have to do blood sugar checks every day, but the A1C test measures your blood sugar levels over a 3-month period.
If your blood sugar remains consistently high, you could see some of those symptoms mentioned above. When administering the A1C test, ensure your medical professional is well-equipped with bloodborne pathogen training (learn more about that here).
B: Blood Pressure
This is something all people need to keep an eye on, but it is more crucial to diabetics due to the ingrained risk of heart attack and stroke that comes with diabetes.
Having high LDL levels can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, so it's a good idea to know what your cholesterol levels should be and try to maintain them.
2. Figure Out Your Body
People with diabetes will notice things react differently to certain activities in their bodies than those without it.
Exercise and eating, as we will discuss soon, can have drastic effects on how a diabetic feels.
Over time, you will get to know how different activities cause your body to react and how to deal with them on a case per case basis. It's always good to be in-tune with your body, and even more so when you have an illness like diabetes.
3. Food & Exercise
The biggest thing that you can do for yourself as a diabetic is to look after your body.
Obviously, everyone should do this, but it is so important for diabetics to get the proper nutrients from their meals and have an active lifestyle to combat the effects of diabetes.
If you learn how different foods will affect your blood sugar levels, you can start to make meal plans that suit your new healthy culinary lifestyle. Eat well-balanced meals that are low in calories, trans and saturated fats, sugar, and salt.
Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, high fiber foods like whole-grain bread and pasta, and lean proteins. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages like soda and sugary juice.
Also, make sure to be mindful of coordinating your medication with your meals, as an improper ratio of insulin to food could result in dangerously high or low blood sugar levels.
In terms of exercise, it will be good to talk to a medical professional to create a workout plan that is active but not overly strenuous.
Keep an eye on your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and create a snack and workout schedule for yourself to keep fit and build a routine.
As with exercise, you will need to get in the routine of doing specific tasks throughout the day. Depending on what type of diabetes you have, you will have to take medication, do blood sugar checks, and even eat at certain times throughout the day.
The best thing to do to get in a routine is to make a plan for yourself, and do whatever you need to do to stick to it. Eventually, you won't even think about the chore of it all, and just have these tasks ingrained in your life.
5. Stress Management
Prolonged stress can have adverse effects on your blood sugar levels over time, not to mention throw you off your routine. Everyone gets stressed, it's alright.
If you are able, keep track of when you get overly stressed in a log. This could allow you to see patterns and deal with stress using things like meditation and exercise. You can also talk to your doctor about ways to deal with stress.
6. Doctors & Medication
In living with diabetes, you will get to know your doctor well.
Regularly schedule visits in order to keep track of your blood sugar levels, and be sure to communicate with them about how your body is reacting to medication, diet, and exercise.
At each visit, have a blood pressure check, a foot check, a weight check, have a blood test done to check your kidneys, and then go over your food and exercise plan with your doctor and any changes you'd like to make to it.
Also, make sure to schedule visits for your A1C test every few months to track your blood sugar.
You Can Do It
Don't worry, you can do this.
If you need inspiration on how to live with diabetes, there is no shortage of people sharing their stories online. You can also join a support group and discuss your tactics for combating diabetes with other diabetics.
At the end of the day, it's an illness that you can manage if you put your mind to it, and we know you can.
Newly middle-aged wife of 1, Mom of 3, Grandma of 2. A professional blogger who has lived in 3 places since losing her home to a house fire in October 2018 with her husband. Becky appreciates being self-employed which has allowed her to work from 'anywhere'. Life is better when you can laugh. As you can tell by her Facebook page where she keeps the humor memes going daily. Becky looks forward to the upcoming new year. It will be fun to see what 2020 holds.