If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel unsure of the road ahead. Suddenly, your life has changed in a major way, and adjustments will need to be made to your lifestyle. You’re not alone—1.5 million U.S. adults are diagnosed with diabetes every year1. Educating yourself about your condition and working with your care team to create a successful management plan can help you manage your diabetes and live a healthy life.
Type 2 diabetes most commonly develops during adulthood. When you have type 2, your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not use it properly. Insulin is a vital hormone—it helps your body absorb and process blood sugar. Living with type 2 diabetes means regularly checking your blood sugar, taking oral medications, and may also include taking insulin either via injection or pump.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) can develop during adulthood too, but it more commonly appears in children and teens. Only 5-10% of people living with diabetes have T1D2.
Prolonged high blood sugar levels, which occur when diabetes is left untreated, can lead to complications. Your nervous, circulatory, and immune systems are at risk when your condition is not being managed properly. Some examples of diabetes complications include:
Routinely checking your blood sugar and taking insulin and other medications can help you reduce your risk of developing complications.
While there is no cure for diabetes, there are ways you can treat it. Beyond taking medication, changing your meal plan can go a long way in managing your condition. Eating a healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It’s a good idea to avoid drinks with sugar unless treating a low blood sugar. Avoid skipping meals and keep a steady meal schedule. Eating healthy will help you manage your blood sugar as well as your overall health.
Regular exercise is an important component as well. Regular physical activity helps reduce insulin resistance, lowers the blood sugar, and can help with weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. It is recommended for all adults to include 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Even taking a brisk walk for 20 minutes every day can make a significant difference. Exercise can also help reduce stress and your risk for heart disease and stroke3.
Make sure you speak with your physician or care team prior to beginning a new diet or exercise program. While living with diabetes means making some changes, you can manage your condition and continue living the life you want.
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