Hi everyone! I’m Dr. Ahmet Ergin, and today I’ve got ten tips to make diabetes fun! No, wait, sorry. Manageable. Let’s face it. Diabetes is no fun at all. It’s a bummer.
Finding out you have diabetes is like finding out that your sister-in-law is coming to visit. And then live with you, permanently.
It doesn’t mean you can’t live a mostly normal life, but you’re gonna have to do a few things differently.
“I don’t understand why I can’t walk around with my shirt off, Linda, it’s my house!”
Here are ten tips that’ll help you control your sister-in-law. I mean, your diabetes.
Table of Contents
Number One of Diabetes Control Tips: Know Your Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers are some of the most important numbers to know in your life, on par with your social security number and your online banking PIN.
Seriously, you can’t just keep resetting that. You’re gonna have to write it down somewhere eventually.
Continuous glucose monitoring systems like Dexcom or Libre can be a big help when it comes to keeping tabs on your blood sugar.
Knowing when it’s too high or too low gives you the power to correct it quickly before things get out of hand. Kind of like how watching your kids closely at the grocery store can help you prevent this from happening.
Glucose monitoring can also help you see patterns of how your blood sugar changes over time. That data can help you determine whether you might need to make changes to your lifestyle. More on that later.
Number Two of Diabetes Control Tips: Time Your Tests Right
If you aren’t using a CGM, you should be testing your blood with finger sticks at least three times a day.
The best time to test is after a meal because your blood sugar is likely to fluctuate.
As an added benefit, the dread of blinding pain in your finger can condition you to hate eating. Which is a great weight loss strategy!
Number Three of Diabetes Control Tips: Keep a Record
Testing alone isn’t enough. You have to log your numbers somewhere, too.
Somewhere beside the back of your hand. Middle school is over, bro.
As I mentioned earlier, you want to be able to see the larger patterns that tell a story about your glucose levels. For instance, you might finally see evidence that you need to give up half-price margarita night.
Although the video of you doing terrible karaoke should have already told you that.
Don’t be a clown. Write your numbers down. Or, you can throw out your pencil, stop living in the 90’s, and download my SugarMDs app.
In addition to logging your blood sugar data, the app lets you record your diet, workouts, and even your mood.
Number Four of Diabetes Control Tips: Don’t Overlook Your Blood Pressure & Cholesterol
Patients with diabetes are also at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. You have to find ways to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
The magic number for blood pressure is 120/70. If you can stay close to that, you’re good. But anything above 140/90 means you’re in hypertension, and 160/100 puts you in the dangerous “Yosemite Sam Territory”.
As far as your cholesterol goes, you want to avoid letting your LDL rise past 100. Women should aim to keep their HDL above 60, while men should keep (HDL) above 50. By the way, if you are wondering what HDL is it aint “honey do list”. It refers to good cholesterol.
Number Five of Diabetes Control Tips: Make Better Food Choices
Healthy eating habits can help you lose weight, which might make your diabetes easier to manage.
This doesn’t mean you have to go all-out. Maybe just start with simple changes you can stick to, like eating more vegetables and stealing fewer Reese’s cups from your kids’ Halloween candy stash.
Another great option for diabetics is Mediterranean eating. It’s delicious, and can even help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases.
If you’re into that, click the link below to learn more about the Mediterranean eating from this handsome devil.
Number Six of Diabetes Control Tips Exercise Regularly
Get up and move! No, no, not yet. Finish watching my video first, and then get up and move.
Or hey, do leg lifts in your chair while you’re watching. I won’t make fun of you. Promise.
Exercise offers you benefits beyond weight loss alone. It can help you lower your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, while also helping you relax more easily.
Even if you can eke out just 30 minutes of exercise a day, you’ll find you have more energy.
That could be just the boost you need to finally stop doing this:
Number Seven of Diabetes Control Tips: Get Better at Managing Stress
Okay, okay, easier said than done, right?
But there are a ton of great stress management techniques out there, and learning how to use them effectively can be great news for your diabetes and your fingernails.
For instance, you can avoid those hour-long arguments with strangers on Facebook. What are you getting out of that, anyway?
You’re never going to avoid stress entirely. The key is finding healthy outlets for it. Open up to family, friends, or a support group about how you’re feeling. It’s important to be vulnerable with people you trust, so they can make fun of you in a healthy way.
Exercise is another great stress management technique, as I mentioned earlier. It prompts your brain to release chemicals that’ll actually make you feel better.
You heard me right. Your brain can get you high all by itself. And it’s legal in all 50 states.
The importance of a positive attitude shouldn’t go unmentioned, either. Focus on what’s good in your life more often, and you might find that a lot of your stress melts away.
Oh, and be kinder to yourself. You can be a real jerk to you sometimes, you know.
Number Eight of Diabetes Control Tips: Stick to Your Meds
I get it. Everyone hates swallowing pills. And don’t even get me started on suppositories.
But your doctor prescribes you medication for a reason. It’s not a prank. Not even laxative.
Your diabetes meds in particular are crucial. They can help reduce your risk of a heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease by helping you keep all your most important numbers under control.
Think of them as a 60’s elementary school teacher that smacks your blood sugar with a ruler when it gets out of line.
This is especially important as you get older. Diabetes is a “progressive disease”, meaning the longer you have it, the more treatment you’ll probably need to manage it, much like a marriage.
Take your prescribed medications consistently for the best results.
Number Nine of Diabetes Control Tips: Schedule Regular Checkups
Make sure you’re responsible for scheduling regular medical checkups.
More importantly, you have to actually go to the appointment for it to count. Your doctor isn’t just some Tinder date you can blow off by saying your “cat is sick”.
Look, I get it. Life moves fast, and you’re a busy person. But when it comes to your health, you have to make time. You only get one body. You can’t just avoid taking care of it and then go get another one when it breaks down as you did with your first car or first relationship.
As a diabetic, you want to see your doctor every three months at minimum for things like a hemoglobin A1C test and a kidney function test.
Regular screenings and lab work will give you a better understanding of your current state of health, which can help you keep your diabetes under control. And wouldn’t it just be so great to have one thing in life under control?
Number Ten of Diabetes Control Tips: Get a Care Plan
Work with your endocrinologist to identify problems and find solutions. Your body, and your diabetes, are going to change over time. It’s called getting older, and it’s happening to literally everyone in the world except Rob Lowe.
Aging brings new problems along with it, and it means you’ll have to constantly find new ways to manage your diabetes. Your endocrinologist is the best person to help you with that.
He can’t explain this generation’s music to you, though. You’ll have to make peace with that on your own.
Your care plan should include:
-Daily blood sugar targets
-Your medications and the reasons you’re taking them
-Your sick day plan
-Your goals for managing diabetes, and
-Follow-up healthcare appointments
These things will all differ from person to person, and again, they’ll probably change a little as you age.
So there you have it. Ten ways to make living with diabetes suck just a little bit less.
Seriously though, living with diabetes doesn’t have to be as big of a burden as some people think. If you find yourself a great endocrinologist and follow these tips, diabetes won’t impact your life any more than a slightly annoying coworker. You know the one I’m talking about.
AHMET ERGIN, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNU
2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. Ste 212 Unit #7
West Palm Beach, Florida