Exercise and self care in diabetes

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Exercise can help control your weight and lower your blood sugar level. It also lowers your risk of heart disease; a condition that is common in people who have diabetes. Exercise can also help you feel better about yourself and increase your overall health. Try to exercise at the same time every day for the same duration. This will help control your blood sugar. Exercise at least three times a week for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Why Exercise is necessary?

  • Exercise burns calories, which will help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

  • In some people, exercise combined with a meal plan, can control Type 2 Diabetes without the need for medications.

  • It can help reduce your cholesterol and high blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

  • It can improve your circulation, especially in your arms and legs, where people with diabetes can have problems.

  • It can lower blood glucose and possibly reduce the amount of medication you need to treat diabetes, or even eliminate the need for medication.

  • It can lower your risk for heart disease; reduce your cholesterol levels and your blood pressure.

  • It helps reduce stress, which can raise your glucose level.

  • Regular exercise can help your body respond to insulin and is known to be effective in managing blood glucose.

If you experience any warning signs severe shortness of breath, dizziness, faintness, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, or pain in an arm or in your jaw stop exercising. If you don't feel better within 15 minutes, seek immediate medical help.

Self Care during Diabetes

By optimizing your self care, you can help reduce the risk of developing complications associated with your diabetes.

  • Don't smoke: People with diabetes that smoke are more likely to die of heart disease, stroke and other diseases than are nonsmokers with diabetes.


  • Get a yearly eye exam: Have your eyes examined each year. If you have poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease or elevated cholesterol, you may need to see your eye specialist more than once a year.


  • Have a general physical each year: Beyond your regular checkups to monitor your diabetes treatment and have a physical examination once in a year. Because your doctor knows you have diabetes, he or she will look for emerging problems caused by the disease, such as eye, kidney and heart disease.


  • Keep your vaccinations up-to-date: Staying up-to-date on vital vaccinations can help you avoid serious diabetes complications.


  • Monitor your blood pressure: Keep track of your blood pressure, maintain your blood pressure because high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels.


  • Monitor your blood sugar: What, when and how much you eat affects your blood sugar levels.


  • Visit your dentist twice a year: A Visit to dentist will be helpful to you because during diabetes, the gums are most likely to have diseases. Your gums provide a common site of infection because of bacteria present in your mouth.


  • Take a daily aspirin: The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend daily intake of aspirin, because daily use of aspirin can reduce the risk of hearth attack.


  • Take care of your feet: Your feet are a good reason for keeping your blood glucose levels in target. High blood glucose levels affect your heart and circulation. Wash your feet with mild soap and water every day and dry them completely. If you notice any sign of infection, call your health care provider. Signs of infection include redness, red streaks, swelling, oozing, warm spots and pain.


  • Care Schedule: A diabetes care schedule incorporates what you need to do daily, monthly, quarterly or yearly to care for your health. This includes following a food and activity plan, testing blood glucose, taking your medication and keeping a record of blood tests and insulin or medication doses.


  • Food Planning: Food plan serves as a guide to help you make decisions about food and timing of meals or snacks. Your food plan helps you:

    • keep blood glucose levels on target

    • maintain healthy levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides

    • prevent diabetes complications

    • maintain a healthy body weight

    • eat healthily


  • Safe Exercise: Get as much exercise as possible, within your abilities and capacities.


  • Pregnancy: Your blood glucose levels should be as near to normal as possible for about three months before you become pregnant, ensuring the healthiest possible environment for your baby's conception.

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Dr. K P Singh (MD, DM Endocrinology)

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