When you first get diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor is going to provide a lot of information about managing your disease. This includes treatment options from monitoring your blood sugar and taking medication, to changing your lifestyle. Here are some treatment options available for your diabetes.
The first set of treatment options to know about if you are a woman with diabetes includes the medical treatments. While you will also be given lifestyle treatments like exercising more and watching your diet, it is not always enough. Depending on the severity of your diabetes, you may also need to monitor your blood sugar and take medications.
With monitoring your blood sugar, this often includes checking your blood sugar with a glucose meter, commonly called a glucometer. These can be provided by your doctor, or you can get one at a local pharmacy, or you can oder one online. You will need to use the tool that pricks your finger, then place the dot of blood on the machine where it indicates to do so, which will then give you a reading. Some people also need to take insulin on a daily basis for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
If you have type 2 diabetes, this might also include taking medications that help to control the sugar in your blood. Metformin is one of the more common medications, which also happens to help with other conditions related to diabetes, including PCOS.
In addition to these medical treatments, your doctor will likely also recommend some lifestyle remedies. These are very simply changes to make to your daily lifestyle to become healthier and help with diabetes at the same time.
This of course starts with changing your diet. Stick to a healthier diet with lower fat, lower carbs, higher fiber, and more nutrients in general. You want to get rid of the processed, packaged, and sugary foods, so reduce your cereal, baked goods, packaged snacks, and frozen meals. Replace them with as many whole and fresh foods as you can get.
This means plenty of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Pay attention to the glycemic index (GI) of everything you eat, as this will help you decide what is good to eat while on a diabetic-friendly diet.
After changing your diet, you will also need to get more exercise. This is important if you have type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes. You need a good amount of aerobic exercise in particular, such as using a treadmill or elliptical, going for a walk, hiking, or even swimming. This is also going to help you with weight loss and can improve your sleep at the same time.
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I wanted to talk about this topic because it is absolutely possible to prevent and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes (but you cannot reverse Type 1). Yes, it’s possible! and emerging studies looking at lifestyle medicine and prevention support this! But I always tell my patients that you must be dedicated and diligent in adopting a healthy lifestyle to get the best results. You can create certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, to help break the cycle of this chronic disease so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve your blood sugar levels, maybe reverse type 2 diabetes. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.
Tools For Diabetes Prevention and Monitoring
Blood Sugar Monitoring
As you know, I always stress the importance of taking control of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to do this. To do this, a single drop of blood is collected with disposable lancets and placed on a disposable test strip, which you insert into a home blood-sugar monitoring device, called a glucometer.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up (fasting), before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime; however, you should check your blood sugar as many times a day as your health care team suggests.
Monitoring your blood sugar level provides you and your doctors with important knowledge about how food, activity, medication, stress, and other elements might affect your blood sugar levels. This data will assist you and your doctor in developing a therapy plan that is suited to your demands.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices):
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity actually improves insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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