Much of diabetes management is based on the concept of leading a ‘healthy lifestyle’. But making sustainable changes to life-long habits, and putting ‘healthy living’ into practice is not always as easy as it sounds.
A healthy lifestyle for people with diabetes
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes.
Having diabetes means that you may stand a higher risk of developing other health problems later on in life. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, nerve damage and circulation problems, which in turn can lead to kidney trouble and damage to the eyes. These ‘diabetic complications’ can potentially affect all people with diabetes.
However, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce your chances of developing complications:
Large-scale studies have shown that good diabetes control can help to prevent, or offset, the development of complications. Two such studies often referred to are the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and the more recent United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS). A healthy lifestyle will help you to achieve your targets for blood glucose control.
Simple changes in eating and exercise habits, plus giving up smoking, will also help to reduce other risk factors for complications, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, for example.
Smoking, excess alcohol, a high fat, high salt diet, obesity and lack of physical activity are all major risk factors for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Adding diabetes to the equation spells potential disaster. So take a good look at your lifestyle and consider making steps towards a new and healthier you.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits. But it’s not so easy to break the habits of a lifetime. If you are struggling, then you should also take a look at “Setting Goals and Making Changes“.
And remember, a healthy lifestyle is something which not only you, but your whole family, can reap the benefits from.
Your Keys to Success
- THINK “healthy”;
- Learn about healthy eating and healthy exercising;
- If you smoke, it’s time to thinking about stopping;
- Don’t try to change life-long habits overnight;
- Set realistic goals for yourself;
- Develop and use a support system – friends, family, local diabetes support network or internet-based group.