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Tips for living with type 2 diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes can be managed successfully by keeping your blood sugar under control. This means watching what you eat, getting enough exercise  and taking your medications on time. Here are some tips for living with type 2 diabetes, followed by tips on getting your blood sugar under control.

Tips for living with type 2 diabetes

Tips for living with type 2 diabetes

Monitor your A1c to avoid diabetes complications

The A1c tells you how well you are managing your diabetes as it shows historical blood sugar average for the three months before the test. Get the tests as recommended by your doctor and ensure that you do what it takes to keep it below 7%. This will avoid diabetes complications like retina damage and other problems.

Tackle that dry mouth

Medications and high blood sugar tend to make that mouth go dry and this can trigger dental problems like cavities and gum disease. To avoid this, sip water frequently. Suck ice chips if you can. Talk to your dentist for a remedy.

Take care of your heart health

While eliminating fats from your diet can lower your risk for heart disease, you still need healthy fats. Include foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids at least thrice a week. Use Olive oil, unseasoned almonds and walnuts, and avocado. Avoid frying. Sauté, bake or grill instead.

Kidney health

One of the complications of diabetes is kidney disease. When diagnosed early, you can arrest it. Unfortunately, often there are no symptoms at all. To protect yourself, get a kidney function blood test and a urinary albumin test once a year.

Manage your weight

This means eating healthy and getting enough exercise. Easier said than done. I made a time table and created menus that are easy to follow so I had my mealtimes and snack times covered. Otherwise it can be tough to plan on the spot. I vary my menus so I don’t get bored with the same thing. For exercise, I walk from 5.30 to 6.30, seven days a week. The five days a week doesn’t work for me. Exercise safely.

Foot care

Make sure you wear the right shoes for the right activity. For walking, shoes that fit comfortably with proper support for the soles. Regularly check your feet for sores.

When you go out

Pack water and snacks. You may want to add some carbs if you are at risk for low sugar. Wear a medical ID tag.

Since keeping your blood sugar under control can prevent a lot of complications, here are some tips to maintain your blood sugar levels:

Tips to maintain your blood sugar levels

You can never underestimate the importance of a balanced meal plan, an active lifestyle and your medications to ensure your blood sugar is in check. Keep track of what to avoid and what works.

Consistent eating habits

Don’t skip meals, particularly breakfast, as this can raise your blood sugar. If you have a large gap between meals, your body grabs the glucose from the liver to fuel itself. For those with type 2 diabetes, the liver unaware that the blood has enough glucose, continues to pump out glucose. When you eat something with a little carbohydrate, the liver receives the signal that it can stop sending glucose into the blood, thus controlling the highs. Another reason not to skip meals is the tendency to overeat when you’ve been starved. This causes weight gain. If you are on medication that stimulates insulin production, the blood glucose can become very low when meals are skipped or delayed.

Get healthy carbs in your diabetes diet

Don’t go in for low-carb diets as they are not balanced and deprive your body of its quota of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It also causes flagging energy levels and headaches. Balance your meal with fruits, grains and other carbs.

Slow cooked pasta and portion control

Enjoy pasta? Most of us do. When pasta is overcooked, it becomes very soft and loses shape, releasing its glucose quickly, causing a blood sugar high. Instead cook it slow. And because pasta is so yummy, most of us end up eating more than we should. One cup of pasta’s calories and carbs equals three slices of bread. So do not overcook the paste and make sure you control portions.

Use cinnamon as a natural sweetener

Although cinnamon is believed to lower blood glucose, the jury is still divided on that one. There is no study to prove it. But you can still use cinnamon to flavor your food in place of sugar.

Control alcohol intake

Discuss it with your doctor. Alcohol is known to reduce blood sugar in an erratic way and also interferes with the liver’s ability to raise blood glucose. You can’t tell when alcohol will cause hypoglycemia. Mixed with high sugar sodas and juices or as an accompaniment with high carb foods, it can freak out your blood sugar levels. If you have to drink, do so in moderation and based on your doctor’s advice about how much is okay for your specific condition.

Drink green tea

Rather than a sugary drink, opt for green tea. You can cut calories, save carbs and also benefit from a healthy dose of disease fighting polyphenols. There is research to suggest that green tea can prevent type 2 diabetes while improving insulin sensitivity. However, be cautious about green tea extracts as that can cause liver toxicity.

Drink water

Water is a great way to go calorie-free. As high blood sugar often results in frequent and excessive urination, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Vinegar for flavor

A spoon of vinegar can help lower blood sugar. How to use it? Add it to your salad and cooked veggies. This will also help cut down on salt. If you are on insulin, use with caution to avoid hypoglycemia.

Get enough sleep

Inadequate sleep disturbs your hormones, makes you more hungry and raises blood sugar while expanding your waistline. So get enough sleep.


Exercise boosts your energy and helps you sleep. Stay active. Inactivity can interfere with the quality of your sleep. So get enough exercise. Choose a routine that works for you.

In addition to the above, if you are planning to take supplements, do the research and talk to your doctor before you start anything. Also, never adjust your medication or self-medicate without consulting your doctor.

Stay healthy!

Day 20 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge
T for Tips for living with type 2 diabetes

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Shailaja V May 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I had no idea about cinnamon as a natural sweetener. Thanks for that tip. Exercising daily or at least walking daily, makes sense to me. Although, after I began badminton, I have become too lazy to walk. Go figure! Handy tips, Vidya. Glad to see your commitment!

Jyothi Nair May 6, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I drink green tea! That’s about it. 😀

Kathy May 7, 2014 at 12:42 am

I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with both of my children and my dad had it so I have a good chance of getting it also. This was filled with great tips and information that every diabetic needs to know to cope with the disease. ♥

Kalpana Solsi May 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Whenever I go out , I carry water or lemonade and cut fruits.
I love pasta and thanks for the tip to cook it slowly.

Bharat May 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Hi Vidya,

Really useful suggestions for dealing with diabetes type 2. There is huge increase in type 2 diabetes in India so it certainly going to help those patients a lot.

Fab May 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

This is really useful. I suppose these tips are also useful for people with pre diabetic sugar levels, so that they can control it in advance.

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