Diabetes is a complex disease. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes is growing rapidly in both the developed and developing world.

The number of people living with diabetes is currently estimated to be around 430 million, and it is expected to rise up to 600 million by 2040.

As Asians, we have a high susceptibility to diabetes because of our genetics. And nearly 46% of people with diabetes are currently undiagnosed.

Getting diagnosed with diabetes can be a very traumatic experience. Once you find out that you have diabetes your whole world turns upside down. You should not think about diabetes as a death sentence but accept it as a part of your life and move on.

Here are some ways you can live a healthy life with diabetes

Change your eating habits

One of the best ways to control your diabetes is by changing your dietary habits.

You should cut down your carbs and added sugars, add more vegetables and protein into your diet, take plenty of healthy fruits.

All these things are simple things to do but will impact in controlling your blood glucose levels in a very big way.

Changing your dietary habits however requires lots of discipline, as you know saying no to once your favourite food is not an easy thing to do.

Even if you are not having diabetes, it is always good to change your dietary habits to a healthy one.

Take your medication on time

Make sure you are taking your medication on time. It is very important to get your medications which helps to control your blood glucose levels.

Even if your sugar levels are normal, you should not skip your doses or shot of insulin.

If you skip your insulin dose or medication it will lead to blood sugar levels to fluctuate and ultimately poor longterm control of blood sugar levels.

Pro tip – Keep a reminder on your smartphone to make sure you’re taking your medication on time.

Exercise whenever you can

Exercising is something everyone should do every day. American Heart Association suggests an adult should exercise at least 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week.

Your exercise can include jogging, swimming, riding a bicycle or even dancing Zumba.

Do your blood tests

Get your diabetes blood tests done
Get your blood tests done.

Once you know you have diabetes you are supposed to get a fasting blood glucose test done once a month.

And you should also do,

  • An HbA1C every 3 months
  • A lipid profile every 3 months
  • Check your kidney functions once a year

By doing a fasting blood sugar test every month and the HbA1C test once every three months you can understand about your blood glucose control. It will also help your doctor to adjust your medication.

Your target should be to keep your fasting blood glucose levels under 120mg/dl and your HbA1C less than 6.5%.

Check your eyes

Diabetic retinopathy is a nasty complication one can get with uncontrolled diabetes.

Therefore everyone with diabetes should get their eyes screened for diabetic retinopathy at least once a year.

If diabetic retinopathy goes undetected it can ultimately lead to permanent loss vision.

Keep your feet healthy

Keep your feet healthy
Keep your feet healthy

One of the leading causes of mobility and morality is due to diabetic related leg wounds.

People with uncontrolled diabetes are at a higher risk of developing these leg wounds and can even end up in amputation.

This is also due to microvascular complications related to diabetes.

Therefore one should check their feet for any wounds at least once a week, and if one gets a wound in their feet they should consult their family physician. This is because even a very minor wound can lead to infection and amputation of the toes and limbs.

It is always a good thing to wear footwear at all times both inside your home and while leaving your home.

Finally and most importantly accept it and move on

Ultimately the most important thing is to accept the condition and move on. You should learn to live with diabetes as you live with any other disease. It is not the end of the world and it is definitely not the end of your life.

Learn how to live with diabetes and if you control your diet and if you live an active life, with medication you will be able to live a normal life.

Author

Dr Rukshan Ranatunge is a graduate from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya (MBBS). He is currently studying for his masters in health informatics.