Living with diabetes is hard, but there are ways to make it better. Read more about tips for living better with diabetes, and then schedule a visit with an Iowa Specialty Hospital specialist in Clarion, IA, to see what else you can do.
Tips for Living Better with Diabetes
When you get diagnosed with diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, it can make your whole world shift. Some things you’ve been experiencing might start to make sense in hindsight, like the tingling in your feet and the dry skin you didn’t seem to have before, but it can also be overwhelming. Suddenly, you have to change a number of aspects of your life, and it can be baffling to figure out where to start.
Iowa Specialty Hospital in Clarion, IA, knows the reality of the struggle of living with diabetes, but we want to let you know there are keys to living with diabetes in ways that don’t sap all the enjoyment from your life. Here are some tips that might help you on your journey.
One of the most important steps anyone can take when they find out they have a chronic condition is to arm themselves with knowledge. Learning more about your diabetes allows you to understand it: what the symptoms are, what’s going on inside your body, how to help yourself fight it, and what warning signs to keep an eye out for. It can also make you feel a little better about living with diabetes: Knowledge is power, and better understanding your condition turns it into something concrete and manageable instead of a scary unknown. Educating yourself on your condition and your specific type of diabetes is essential to taking better care of yourself, because how can you begin to battle something when you don’t know what, exactly, it is?
We know: It seems like no matter what’s wrong with your health these days, the first thing doctors want you to do is change is your diet. After a while, the advice can stop feeling helpful and start feeling like a personal insult. With diabetes especially, however, good nutrition and healthy eating are crucial to managing the condition, because what you eat directly affects how well you’re doing. Diets that are high in fiber, veggies, and healthy fats but low in sugars are ideal for living better with diabetes, and beyond managing the condition, can also have a major impact on how well you feel.
This doesn’t have to be an entirely gloomy change, though. Try seeing it as an opportunity to try new foods, get more involved with cooking or preparation if you’re able, and have some fun. Getting in the kitchen and cooking with your loved ones can be a great bonding experience, and trying new foods can be fun. There are numerous tips to make eating healthy easier and less of an inconvenience, such as getting someone else to eat better with you. Seeing a dietician or nutrition counselor, especially one who specializes in diabetes, can help you craft a diet plan that incorporates things you love while giving your body optimal nutrition.
Another important tip for living with diabetes is to stay aware of your condition and the signs your body gives you. Taking your medication as prescribed, going to routine checkups to keep tabs on how you’re doing, and regularly checking your blood are all excellent ways to stay on top of diabetes, but it’s also important to pay attention to your body and how you feel. Things like excessive tingling or numbness, increased or unusual dry skin, sores and blisters on your feet, dizziness, and more may be crucial signs that your condition is worsening or that you’re on the brink of a diabetic crisis. Check your feet daily for cuts, sores, and blisters that aren’t healing. Call your doctor if you notice weakness, dizziness, or a sensation of vertigo that’s uncommon for you or doesn’t go away. Check your sugar levels at least once a day, if not more, and contact your physician if you notice an unusual pattern developing.
Being more active on a daily basis is also a must for anyone living with diabetes, as losing some weight and strengthening your heart and body will do you worlds of good. That doesn’t mean you have to start doing cardio-intensive workouts for 30 minutes every day—baby steps can be key to preventing yourself from feeling overwhelmed or like you’re reaching for an unattainable goal. Try starting with small walks or activities you enjoy, like gardening or woodworking. Anything that gets you moving is a step in the right direction, and over time, you can gradually increase what and how much you do. Group activities like swimming classes, yoga classes, or short, easy hikes can be a great way to get your exercise in while enjoying yourself.
One final, greatly important tip for living better when you’re living with diabetes is to enjoy life. It’s a factor that tends to be overlooked, but studies have shown a massive relationship between your mental health and your physical well-being, especially in people who have chronic conditions. The quality of your life is important, and living with diabetes shouldn’t take that away from you. At Iowa Specialty Hospital, we want you to be healthy—but that goes beyond your physical health: We want you to be happy, too.