1) Monitor your blood glucose levels.
Self-monitoring your blood glucose (sugar) levels is crucial to understanding your diabetes. It is important to know what your blood glucose levels are before a meal, after a meal, and after fasting. This will give you a better understanding of how you need to manage your diabetes.
An electronic meter is extremely accurate in reading blood glucose levels. Dr. Patel will help you decide how often you should monitor and what type of electronic meter would work best for you. It may be necessary for you to test once or several times a day depending on your specific needs. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), blood glucose should be between 70 and 130 mg/dl before a meal and less than 180 mg/dl after a meal.
2) Maintain a healthy diet.
• Eat on a schedule. Your blood glucose levels will stabilize if you eat at the same times every day. Your body will get used to the set schedule and maintain a more stable blood glucose level.
• Eat a balanced diet. A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy can offer the most stability in your blood glucose levels. These foods nourish our bodies and give us a steady amount of energy. They will also prevent blood sugar spikes and drops. Additionally, a balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy weight, which is critical in managing your diabetes. According to the ADA, “A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit."
3) Exercise regularly.
Your body uses glucose for energy during periods of physical activity. Daily exercise will improve the way your body reacts to insulin. In combination with a balanced diet, daily exercise can help keep your blood glucose levels down by using excess energy.
4) Maintain low blood pressure and cholesterol.
A healthy diet and daily exercise will contribute to healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Diabetics have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure that can lead to further complications such as heart attack, stroke, or other diseases.
• Healthy blood pressure. The ADA recommends that blood pressure be under 130/80 mm Hg. Treatment and lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, can both contribute to healthy blood pressure.
• Healthy cholesterol. A healthy diet and daily exercise can improve your cholesterol. The ADA recommends LDL, or “lousy” cholesterol, be under 100 mg/dl. HDL, healthy cholesterol, should be over 40 mg/dl for men and over 50 mg/dl for women. Cholesterol levels may be too high or too low if blood glucose levels are off, so if you keep your blood glucose levels under control, you have a better chance of keeping your cholesterol under control as well.
5) Maintain good oral hygiene.
Gum disease is a common problem among those with diabetes. High blood glucose levels increase the risk of developing dental problems such as cavities and gum disease. Keeping blood glucose levels down will decrease these risks. For optimal oral hygiene, make sure to:
• Brush teeth at least twice a day
• Floss at least once a day
• Schedule regular dental exams (every six months)
Being diagnosed with diabetes does not mean that you cannot be healthy. Diabetes can be managed by monitoring your blood glucose levels, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol, and maintaining good oral hygiene. For more information regarding diabetes management, please visit Dr. Patel’s complex disorder management web page: http://www.aimhealthcenter.com/
About Dr. Kalpesh Patel:
Advanced Integrative Medicine was started by Dr. Kalpesh Patel as part of a joint medical and dental clinic with his wife, Dr. Shefali Patel (the dentist at Ivory Dental). Both doctors strongly believe that every patient deserves the best quality of medical and dental care that is available today. When designing their unique facility, both Doctors Patel went to great lengths to create an office that offers not only the latest technologies in the health industry, but also one that provides a relaxing spa-like environment for patients to experience health care in the most comfortable setting possible.
Dr. Kalpesh Patel is a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and went on to receive his M.D. degree from Ross University. After completing his Internal Medicine residency at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois, he decided to settle down in the West Suburbs. Learn more about Dr. Patel by visiting http://www.aimhealthcenter.com.