Take Control of Your Diabetes

Published Monday October 19, 2015

Welcome to the FASMA blog. On this blog we will keep you up to date on the latest trends in podiatric medicine, educational resources and some great tips to taking care of your feet.

I see many patients who have Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes. I wanted to dedicate this first blog post to those wonderful patients struggling with this condition and give a few pointers on managing your lifestyle. Research has shown that lifestyle changes can prevent and control many complications of the disease.

  1. Keep Moving: Exercise and staying active doesn’t have to involve driving 20 minutes to the gym and doing the same thing day after day. No matter what people tell you, the actual type of exercise you do is not that important. The important thing is that you are doing SOMETHING that gets your heart rate up for at least 20-30 minutes a day. What do you enjoy doing? Biking? A brisk walk? Swimming? Racquetball? The key with exercise is consistency. If you loved jumping jacks, as long as you did that consistently everyday for 30 minutes, you would start seeing results. It is easy to get frustrated with exercise because we don’t see results immediately. It takes time. But just remember that you don’t have to see results after every workout. Any day that you exercise, you are healthier than you were the day before. Find something active you enjoy doing and be consistent.
  2. Eat right:  Choose foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Avoid excess carbohydrates like bread and other baked goods.  Eat lots of vegetables, beans and whole grains. Limit fruit to 2 servings per day. Although fruit is great and packed with antioxidants and vitamins, it will elevate your blood sugars. My personal rule of thumb is that I always try to eat foods with just a few ingredients in them. If I see a box of crackers with a laundry list of 76 ingredients, I steer clear. In general you want to stick to shopping around the periphery of the grocery store. That is where all the fresh fruits, vegetables and other produce is found. The aisles in the middle of the store are mostly processed foods with lots of artificial ingredients.
  3. Quit Smoking: Kicking this one habit will lower your blood pressure and dramatically improve your circulation. You’ll also have better control over your blood sugar.
  4. Limit Alcohol Use: Most alcoholic beverages are packed with sugar that will spike your glucose levels. If you choose to consume, limit yourself to no more than one or two occasional drinks, and only when your blood sugar level is well controlled.
  5. Avoid Soda: There have been several studies that suggest just one 12 ounce serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage can raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 22 percent. Those are not odds I want to take. Soda is packed with artificial sugar and other preservatives linked to diabetes. Instead, have some water with a little lemon or lime for flavor.

If this is all new to you, try taking small baby steps to improve yourself. Trying to change your entire lifestyle in one day is doomed to frustration, failure and reversion back to your old ways. It takes 3 weeks to develop a habit. Take care of yourself and be consistent. 

– Kyle Scholnick, DPM

Dr. Scholnick practices in the Columbia (410-730-2623) and Kensington (301-949-2000) locations.

 

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