Did you know about 35 million Americans have diabetes? That’s 11% of the men, women, and children in our country! What’s more? An additional 88 million adults have prediabetes.
Left untreated, prediabetes can become Type 2 diabetes, a disease that stops your body from managing blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes can also lead to additional health conditions that could threaten your life.
To help you manage diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medication. However, many people are able to reduce or eliminate their need for medication by using at-home treatments. And while it’s important to stay on any medications until your doctor advises otherwise, you might be able to reduce your dependence on medication by implementing other measures.
At Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, our providers help men and women by giving them customized treatment plans for Type 2 diabetes. Here are some steps you can take at home to help you take control over your condition.
If you want to avoid taking medications for managing diabetes, or if you want to work to reverse the disease, it’s essential to make healthy dietary changes.
Everything you eat impacts your blood sugar. When you have diabetes, it’s extremely important to be mindful of the types of foods and the quantity you put on your plate.
Avoid processed foods — which is anything that comes in a package — and eat more whole foods. Whole foods convert carbohydrates into sugar more slowly, which can make it easier to manage diabetes.
One easy way to make healthy changes is to choose foods low on the glycemic index. This index shows how quickly the body converts different types of foods into glucose (sugar).
Simple carbohydrates, such as white rice, turn into glucose faster than complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice. The scale goes from 0-100. The higher the number, the more easily it’s converted into glucose.
By focusing on whole foods, you won’t go hungry. And by eating a good balance of vegetables, lean proteins — such as beans and legumes — and healthy fats — such as avocados and nuts — you may be able to lose any excess weight you might have.
In addition to changing the foods you eat, space your meals and snacks out over the day instead of eating big meals. By spreading out your meals, your blood sugar levels won’t spike as dramatically.
Monitoring your glucose levels using a meter can help you better understand how your blood sugar responds to the foods you eat. To get a baseline on your numbers, try testing your blood sugar in the morning before you eat, and again before you eat your biggest meal of the day (usually dinner), and again 1-2 hours after eating that meal. Your provider at Prima Medicine can help you create a personalized testing schedule.
If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, regular exercise is an important step in managing your health condition. This is because regular exercise lowers blood sugar levels. It can also help your blood flow more efficiently and keep your blood pressure low.
In addition, regular exercise can help burn off extra pounds, improve your stress levels, and improve your overall health. You can start small by walking 30 minutes a day and build from there. Be sure to check with your doctor at Prima Medicine before beginning any exercise routine.
Alcohol is metabolized in your liver, the same organ that releases stored sugar when your blood glucose levels drop. In other words, when you drink alcohol, your body may not be able to do what it needs to do in order to keep your blood sugar where it needs to be. Be sure to talk with your provider at Prima Medicine about alcohol consumption for personalized recommendations.
When you have a chronic disease, such as Type 2 diabetes, it’s important to have regular check-ins with your doctor. At Prima Medicine, we monitor your blood sugar and work with you to create a customized treatment plan.
And, we can make changes to your treatment plan along the way as we evaluate your condition and overall health. If your condition doesn’t improve with at-home treatments, we may also recommend medication.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, we can help. To learn more about your treatment options, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.