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Managing Type 2 Diabetes – Lifestyle Advice for Type 2 Diabetes

Being told you’re really cute is usually a compliment, but not when you hear it from your doctor about your blood. When your blood sugar (or glucose) remains high, it’s a sign that you may have diabetes, a chronic condition that affects more than 34 million American adults. Diabetes requires constant monitoring and, for many, requires lifelong treatment. It affects the whole body and can lead to serious complications.

Glucose gives your body the energy it needs, just like the fuel that powers a car. The pancreas produces insulin, the hormone that helps move glucose out of the blood into the cells. In people with type 2 diabetes, cells become unresponsive to insulin, a problem known as insulin resistance. Left unchecked, type 2 diabetes can cause long-term damage to small blood vessels and nerves and lead to problems with the eyes, skin, limbs, heart, kidneys, brain, and more.

Fortunately, you can take steps to control the condition — and prevent it from happening in the first place. Lifestyle changes like these can have a big impact on your blood sugar, even if you also take diabetes medications:

Be picky about carbohydrates

Eating certain foods like white bread, potatoes, and rice — or a lot of them — can temporarily raise your blood sugar whether or not you have diabetes. Choose foods that rank low in glycemic index, which is an indicator of how quickly you cause your blood sugar to increase. Low-level carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, winter squash, and beans. You should also be aware of a meal’s glycemic load, which takes into account the total grams of carbohydrates in a meal.

move more

Several studies show a link between physical activity and blood sugar control. I recommend at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar before and after, as well as during activity when you’ve been exercising for more than an hour.

Keep stress under control

Research suggests that people with diabetes who make relaxation techniques part of their regular routine experience significant improvements in blood sugar levels. I am a proponent of practicing deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help calm the nervous system.

Ask your doc about Supplements

Your body relies on a range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to regulate blood sugar. Certain other herbs and natural products have also been found to help improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. These include chromium (1,000 mcg per day), alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg per day) and bitter melon (follow package directions). Tell your doctor before trying these treatments, as you may need to adjust your medication dose.

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