Lifestyle dos and don’ts for Diabetics

crop5_240x240_2dec14Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a must for diabetics. Healthy eating, exercising, keeping a watch on sugar levels and other simple yet important practices become a way of life.

Dr. Rajiv Kovil lists out seven basic yet important lifestyle dos and don’ts for diabetics to lead healthy lives.

Do track your glucose levels.
To calculate your insulin treatment doses, you’ll need to know your blood sugar level. And that means you’ll need to test often – four or more times each day.

Do count your carbs. 

Do stay active.
Regular exercise helps you control your blood sugar and maintain a stable weight

Do be prepared for changes.
Diet, exercise, illness, hormones or other factors, like anxiety, can affect your blood sugar levels from day to day.

Don’t be afraid of needles.
One of the biggest fears of women starting insulin treatment is pain from injecting insulin with syringes and lancets for repeated glucose testing.

Don’t smoke
Over 25 percent of people newly diagnosed with diabetes are smokers. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things a patient can do to improve their health.

Smokers with diabetes have an increased risk of the following:

  • Death, especially from heart attacks and strokes
  • High low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (“bad”) cholesterol levels
  • Worsened blood sugar controlled, compared to non-smokers
  • Nerve damage from diabetes
  • Kidney disease leading to dialysis
  • Foot ulcer and amputation of toes, feet or legs caused by peripheral vascular disease.

Diabetics who quit smoking can decrease their risks. Most people who smoke find it difficult to quit; assistance is available from a number of sources. Healthcare providers have access to self-help materials, and can help select a quit date, provide contact information for local support groups, and prescribe nicotine replacement treatment, if needed.

Set Small Goals
Taking a step-by-step approach is the easiest way to make permanent lifestyle changes. Doing small things, such as taking a walk after dinner, can improve blood glucose and overall diabetes management, and allow you to look at the results and reevaluate as needed.

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Dr. Rajiv Kovil
Consultant Diabetologist, Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre

Dr. Rajiv Kovil is a Consultant Diabetologist at Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre, the first Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic in Mumbai, KLS Memorial Hospital and Holy Spirit Hospital among others. He is a founder member of United Diabetes Forum, a forum of practising diabetologists in India. He has also written various articles on diabetes for medical journals such as Asian Journal of Diabetology and Medical Image. His Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic is an initiative to provide preventive diabetic measures as well as to function as a specialized Foot Clinic for diabetic patients not only in terms of equipment but more importantly in terms of expertise.

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