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How to Manage Diabetes Holistically

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While it can be tempting to treat Type 2 diabetes as a simple problem with a simple solution — taking the right medications — the reality is more complicated. Diabetes needs to be managed as a whole-body condition through several lifestyle practices. Drugs like Actos are integral in keeping healthy once Type 2 diabetes has set in, but to keep your body functioning at its best, try out these few tips in your everyday life.

React to Early Warning Signs

While many people do not worry about managing diabetes prior to diagnosis, note the physical conditions and signs that lead to diabetes. While general factors like weight are commonly associated with Type 2 diabetes, the factor that matters the most is long-term blood sugar problems. If you are handling your blood sugar poorly, it can set you up for diabetes years down the road. When blood sugar levels quickly rise and fall due eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates, your body starts to react in predictable ways. You start getting sugar cravings or feeling tired (particularly after meals), signs your blood sugar is starting to swing on its own. High blood pressure, frequent inflammation and sex drive problems are also indicators. Poor diet choices and sugar intake can also lead to an accumulation of belly fat, which indicates blood sugar fluctuation. All of these are signs that your body is having trouble managing insulin levels on its own. Eventually they could lead to the traditional signs of diabetes, like problems with frequent urination or constant thirst. However, catching the signs early provides you with enough time to reverse them. If you notice any of these developments in your health, try to thwart the development of Type 2 diabetes by altering your lifestyle in key ways, like healthier dietary choices and increased exercise.

Make the Right Dietary Choices

A highly structured diet is crucial to controlling blood sugar levels and encouraging insulin balance. At home, a strict diet is diabetes2simple to manage as long as you stick to the right grocery list and meal plan. But on the social front, it can be more difficult to watch your diet when eating at restaurants or events with friends and families. Here are a few general food guidelines to follow when the menu is not under your direct control:
  • Grains. Choose grains that are unprocessed, since processed carbs have a greater effect on blood sugar levels. Whole oats, brown rice and whole wheat are far better than their highly processed counterparts.
  • Fats. Fats do not have the same impact on blood sugar as grains, but you should still stick to healthy fats found in natural oils (peanut butter, olive oil, etc.) and healthy sources like avocados and nuts because they foster overall health.
  • Dairy. Dairy on its own has a low glycemic index, so cheeses and similar options can make for safe party foods. Stay away from dairy products with added sugar, like ice cream.
  • Meats. Meats have little impact on blood sugar. Pick low-fat options like chicken or healthy options like fish whenever possible, as red meats can increase your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Fruits. Citrus fruits like oranges or lemons and berries like blueberries and strawberries are excellent fruit options for a diabetic diet as they have naturally low glycemic indexes and plenty of healthy nutrients with a minimal calorie count.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol can lower blood sugar, which can be dangerous, but moderate amounts, when eaten on a full stomach when your blood sugar levels are stable, are safe. Just remember to keep hydrated, drink slowly and know your blood sugar levels will fall as a result and you may need to eat more to counter the effects. If you want to lose weight, stay away from alcohol entirely.

Start Exercising

A strong fitness plan will not only help you lose weight, but will also help your body manage its insulin more effectively and can help improve blood circulation and cholesterol. Ideally, around 30 minutes of exercise per day is an excellent addition to your treatment, especially cardio-related activities like jogging, biking rowing or sports like tennis and skiing. Strength training (lifting weights and similar activities), meanwhile, can increase your sensitivity to insulin, providing additional long-term benefits. Keep in mind that exercise may either drop or boost your blood glucose unexpectedly depending on your individual reaction and how stressful the activity is. Learn how your body responds to exercise and start slow to avoid injury. Thinking about diabetes from a holistic perspective is one of the best treatments you can choose. Treat your body well to aid your recovery. If you have not made the necessary lifestyle changes yet, now is the best time to start.   Tests image by bodytel from Flickr’s Creative Commons  Food image by from Flickr’s Creative Commons  

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