Diabetes and Lifestyle Considerations
Author: Shannon Miller
Five percent of people with diabetes have Type 1 and this type of diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults.
The more common form diabetes is Type 2, which millions of Americans are diagnosed with.
Whether someone has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the condition revolves around the role of insulin.
When we eat food, our body breaks down sugars and starches into glucose, which acts as fuel (i.e. energy) for our body’s cells. Insulin plays the significant role of taking sugar from our blood into our cells.
For Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin at all. The good news, in this case, is that insulin therapy and other treatments can help someone sufficiently manage their condition.
For Type 2, the body does not produce enough insulin or body cells ignore the insulin. Complications occur when glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead going into the cells. The good news, though, is that with proper treatment and some lifestyle changes these complications can be delayed or prevented. Some of these lifestyle changes include:
- Fuel up! Eating a variety of foods is recommended (i.e. vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, healthy fats, lean meats or meat substitutes). Some other eating tips include not eating too much, spacing meals out throughout the day, and not skipping meals.
- Get your motor runnin’! Any type of physical activity can lower your blood glucose level. And of course, being physically active has other benefits as well: having more energy, relieving stress, keeping your joints flexible, and many more!
- At the heart of it. Aerobic activity helps your insulin work better and improves blood flow. For optimal results, try to engage in aerobic activity 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week. Some aerobic activities include speed walking, swimming, and biking.
- Shed a few. Losing weight can improve your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Shedding 10-15 pounds may be enough to start observing results.
When it comes down to it, diabetes is not anything that anyone wants to deal with it. Fortunately though, there are steps that can be taken to make this condition more manageable. Remember, you are strong enough to take these steps!
Above information adapted from the American Diabetes Association website.