Every year, November is National Diabetes Month, and Hoveround would like to share these 6 Tips to Help Control and Manage Type 2 Diabetes.
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is when your body becomes resistant to insulin, or when it stops producing enough insulin. Normally, your body turns most of the foods you eat into glucose (or sugar), and then the insulin is what breaks down that glucose and sends it into your cells to use for energy. However, when you don't produce enough insulin, that glucose doesn't get broken down and leaves you with sugar built up in your blood—thus the term “high blood sugar.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 2 out of every 5 Americans will develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime. Many factors can contribute to type 2 diabetes, which is a serious disease, but there's good news because you can take steps to control and manage it.
6 Tips for How to Control Type 2 Diabetes
- Exercise — Exercise is an important part to controlling your diabetes. How much exercise is necessary? That differs for each person, but aim for 20 to 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week. We're not talking running around the neighborhood if that's not feasible; however, you can find ways to be active even if you are using a Hoveround power wheelchair or mobility scooter. Walking or swimming may be possibilities, as are these 4 Exercises You Can Do in Your Wheelchair. But always remember to talk to your doctor before starting any sort of exercise regimen.
- Plan Your Meals — It may not seem necessary, but taking the time to plan your meals for the week benefits you in many ways: It saves you stress from wondering what's for dinner, keeps you from making last-minute runs to the grocery store, prevents you from ordering fast-food meals, and most of all it ensures you're eating healthy.
You can simply grab a piece of paper and write down what you plan to make for each meal (yes, that means breakfast and lunch, too!), or you can do it on your computer, smartphone or tablet. There are plenty of websites and apps to help you with meal planning, and the bonus is these often include space for shopping lists and recipes.
- Read Food Labels — Nutrition labels on packaged foods can seem overwhelming, but it's important to understand what is in what you're eating (and bonus points for eating fresh foods that need no label!). Some key things to look at are the amount of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol in your foods. Aim for no trans fats, very low saturated fats, and low cholesterol to keep your blood cholesterol low. Keep the sodium low to help lower your blood pressure, and note that packaged foods contain high amounts of sodium to maintain freshness.
- Lower Carbs — One of the most important parts of the nutrition label you'll need to pay attention to is carbohydrates. Because our bodies turn some carbohydrates into glucose, eating carbohydrates such as sugars or starches can make blood sugar levels rise. This doesn't mean going on a no-carb or low-carb diet; rather, it's being conscious of what you're consuming and eating well-balanced meals instead of a dinner of all carbs. Most people don't realize how many carbs they actually eat so taking notice of this can help your sugar levels.
- Get Fiber — Feel like you're always hungry? Make sure you're getting enough fiber! Since fiber helps you feel full longer, it's important to eat fiber-rich foods so you won't grab for those carbohydrates just so you won't feel hungry. Some good choices for foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, oatmeal, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- Use Smaller Portions — It's not uncommon that plate portions include a meat or protein as the largest part, with vegetables only a small side. However, you should think of vegetables and fruits as your main course and carbs and proteins as the side items. For example, set up half of your meal size with fruits and vegetables, with one-quarter for grains and one-quarter for the lean protein. Smaller overall portion sizes will help, too!
November is National Diabetes Month. Share these 6 Tips to Help Control and Manage Type 2 Diabetes, and if you're experiencing difficulty getting around, contact us today at (800) 542-7236 to find out how you can regain your mobility and retain your independence!