If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will likely recommend treating the disease with a combination of healthy diet, exercise, and medication to control your blood sugar levels. Because type 2 diabetes is sometimes called a lifestyle disease, the first line of defense will often be diet and exercise.
Eating well is a crucial part of diabetes management. That means avoiding added sugar and refined carbohydrates, which the body processes as sugar. Doctors often recommend a low-carb diet like the keto or paleo diet for people with diabetes. If neither of these diets is right for you, try to stick to foods low on the glycemic index (GI) which take longer to digest and help you avoid blood sugar spikes. The DASH diet and Mediterranean diet are also popular and healthy diets for those with diabetes.
Adopting an exercise routine is sometimes overlooked as a diabetes management tool, but some doctors encourage patients to view exercise as medicine. For example, going for a short walk after dinner can lower your blood sugar levels almost immediately. Doctors recommend about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or about 30 minutes five days per week.
To better see short-term and long-term benefits of exercise, try logging the following factors in a journal: what kind of exercise you did, the intensity, how long you exercised, and how the exercise made you feel. Regular exercise is one of the best tools for diabetes management, so try not to skip out on it.
The kind of medication you’re prescribed depends on what type of diabetes you have. There are many different diabetes medications on the market, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you and your doctor to find one that’s right for you. Here’s a list of common diabetes medications, how they work, and their possible side effects.