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Raw fruits and vegetables in the bowl with stethoscope

If you have diabetes, you’re not alone. Over 34 million people — or one in 10 Americans — live with diabetes. Another 88 million have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke.

Dr. Raj Kandavanam at Lake Family Medicine & Imaging specializes in not only treating your diabetes but giving you the tools you need to live your best and healthiest life. To help do that, we’re sharing these top lifestyle tips for managing your diabetes.

Diabetes 101

If cells in your body that produce insulin become damaged, your system can no longer move the sugar in your blood to the areas needing sugar for energy. When this occurs, you have Type 1 diabetes. It causes sugar to build up and your body doesn’t get the energy source it needs to function properly. 

Type 2 diabetes is more common. This disorder occurs when your body can’t produce enough insulin to manage the sugar in your system. Eventually, your cells become resistant to insulin, which causes your blood to become saturated with sugar. 

You can also develop diabetes while pregnant. This form, known as gestational diabetes, typically subsides after giving birth. 

When living with diabetes, it’s essential to monitor your blood sugar levels. In some cases, you could need medication or insulin to keep your levels in check. For the best outcomes, it’s also important to adjust your habits and lifestyle to help you better manage your condition.

Lifestyle Habits Keep Diabetes in Check

Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to help take control of your blood sugar, manage your symptoms, and live a healthy, fulfilling life. 

We recommend taking these steps to start:

Watch What You Eat

This is quite possibly the most beneficial change you can make when facing a diabetes diagnosis. That’s because everything you eat impacts your blood sugar levels, so you have to be even more aware of what you’re putting on your plate. That includes controlling your portions and not overeating. 

For the best results, focus on consuming a mix of vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats at each meal. You should also limit your sugar and carbohydrate intake, which can help keep your blood sugar levels more stable. 

If you’re having trouble creating a diabetes-friendly diet, we can offer a diet plan that works for you.

Move Your Body

A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to get a gym membership, but you should find ways to increase your activity level as much as possible. Breaking a sweat does more than get your heart rate up. It also helps control blood sugar and comes with the added bonus of helping you shed extra pounds and stave off heart disease.

We suggest adding a daily walk or jog around the block, bike ride, or swim. You can even add some gentle yoga to get your body moving. If you’re new to exercise, we can help you come up with a few activities that fit into your interests, ability, and overall goals. 

Manage Stress

Believe it or not, stress and anxiety actually cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Because of this, it’s crucial to engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation, light exercises, or hobbies that keep you relaxed and balanced. 

Ditch Smoking

You already know you should quit, but it’s even more important when you have diabetes. That’s because this condition significantly increases your chances of developing health issues like nerve damage, blood vessel disease, heart disease, stroke, and eye disease. 

If you need help quitting, we can offer suggestions to get started so you can ditch smoking for good. 

Drink Alcohol Responsibly

Wine, beer, and liquor can all cause large spikes in your blood sugar levels. If you do consume alcohol, we strongly encourage you to know your blood sugar before having a drink and recommend not drinking too much. 

Schedule Regular Doctor Visits

Most importantly, we recommend making and keeping regular primary care appointments with us. We offer onsite lab services and walk-in visits so you can have your cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1C level checked. Plus, it’s essential to have your eyes and feet examined for any diabetes-related issues

Making these changes can seem difficult or impossible, but we’re here to help every step of the way. For more information on lifestyle changes to help manage your diabetes, contact us by calling our Sanford, Florida, office at 407-232-7655 today.