5 ways people with diabetes can manage their blood sugar

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According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with diabetes this year. Whether you’ve managed the disease for years or have been newly diagnosed, you likely know that part of treatment means decreasing blood glucose levels and keeping it in a healthy range. This is the case regardless of the type of diabetes you have — Type 1, where your body doesn’t produce insulin, or the most common form, Type 2, where your body doesn’t properly use insulin or make enough of it.

When it comes to keeping your blood sugar at healthy levels, Shelley Nicholls, DNP, APRN, CDCES, director of patient education at the Diabetes Research Institute, told Business Insider people should not think of them as positive or negative.

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“Try not to think of blood sugars as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or as a reflection of how well or bad you are doing,” she said. “Having a good understanding of what affects blood sugars and which of them a person can control or influence is the best tool a person with diabetes can have.”

In addition to measuring your blood sugar and keeping track of your A1C through a simple blood test, here are five ways Business Insider notes people can lower their blood glucose levels.

A healthy diet

Eating healthily is a must when it comes to managing diabetes. According to Mayo Clinic, “[a] diabetes diet is a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone.”

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Hydrate with lots of water

Healthy eating and water consumption tend to go hand-in-hand. A 2019 study led by Arizona State University researcher Stavros Kavouras found that diabetes patients could regulate their glucose levels significantly better when they were properly hydrated. The ADA’s Diabetes Plate Method notes that drinking water with meals “is the best choice because it contains no calories or carbohydrates and has no effect on blood sugar.”

Get regular exercise

Being active is beneficial for everyone but for people with diabetes, the ADA says it can improve blood sugar control of Type 2 diabetes and help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes altogether. Exercise can also build insulin sensitivity for people with Type 1 diabetes. It’s recommended that all adults — especially those with Type 2 diabetes — lessen their daily idle time.

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Lose weight

In addition to exercising regularly, weight loss can aid in preventing diabetes-related complications like heart disease and stroke. It could even lead you to reverse diabetes, according to WebMD. It’s important to note, though, that diabetes patients won’t be cured of the disease. Since it’s a chronic condition, there is always the chance that symptoms could come back.

Keep your stress low

Today’s Dietitian reported that when under stress, the hormone cortisol fuels the body with glucose, which produces a flight-or-flight response. When elevated long-term, however, it can cause raised blood sugar levels.

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