Lifestyle Tips for Managing Diabetes

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What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to sufficiently control its blood glucose concentration, either through the never having the ability to produce insulin (type I) or through the inability of the pancreas to effectively work effectively (type II).

It was reported recently by the American Diabetes Association that 9.3 percent of the U.S. population had diabetes as of 2012 [1].  This equates to about 29.1 million Americans and is an increase in prevalence of about 3.3 percent since 2010.  While diabetes affects roughly 12.3 percent of individuals at least 20 years old, the prevalence is highest among the older adult.  Over 25 percent of American seniors report diabetes, which continues to impact the aging adult.

Guidelines for Managing Diabetes

Managing type II diabetes can be simple or complex depending on the situation.  Fortunately for type II diabetics, the condition is a predominant lifestyle condition and much of the disease can be maintained with diet and exercise.  Listed below are some options for changing a lifestyle that is conducive for the management of type II diabetes.

  • Diet: Eating a balanced and nutritious diet seems self-explanatory, but this is one of the hardest aspects towards making a lifestyle change.  Selecting correct portion sizes is a first and a must for changing the diet.  It would be helpful to make a list of all the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy and fill you up.  The next step is to try to plan meals and cook from home.  Cooking at home allows for wholesome food and try packaging extra servings in containers for left overs or lunches later in the week.  Remember to portion reasonably.
  • Exercise: The maintenance of type II diabetes includes proper physical activity.  When exercise is combined with proper dieting behaviors, type II diabetes does not stand a chance.  It is recommended that everyone be physically active for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week, and at a moderate intensity.  While these are basic exercise recommendations, it is optimal to exercise daily, receive at least one hour of physical activity/exercise, and limit/reduce the total amount of sitting time daily.
  • Reduce Sedentary Time: By reducing the daily total time sitting, the body is more efficient.  A body at rest is a body that stores fat and a body that is not efficient with its insulin.  Insulin efficiency is increased when the body is not sedentary and when the body is moving.  Insulin resistance can lead to type II diabetes and is often an early marker for obtaining type II diabetes.  By decreasing the amount of time the body is in a resting state, insulin sensitivity increases, which is more efficient.


Whether you are at risk for being diagnosed with diabetes or are completely healthy, just understand that diabetes can strike at any time.  Even athletes who claim they can eat whatever they want because of how active they are can be at risk for future diabetes.  Choosing a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and physical activity is essential for reducing type II diabetes risk in any population.




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