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Diabetes - How to Live Healthy

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Diabetes - How to Live Healthy

4 min read


Diabetes cannot stop a person from leading a normal and healthy life. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At February 14, 2018
Reviewed AtMay 29, 2023


Diabetes is a very common condition that affects people of all ages. There are many forms of diabetes and type 2 is the most common one. Diabetes is characterized by the condition when the blood glucose level is very high. Diabetes is caused when the pancreas produces reduced insulin or no insulin. Most of the diabetic forms are chronic and can be managed through medications and insulin injections. With little changes in lifestyle and attitude, a person can lead a normal and happy life just like anybody else.

What Is the Role of Glucose?

Glucose is the main source of energy. Glucose (sugar) is present in food and drinks rich in carbohydrates. Blood carries glucose to every cell in the body where it is used as energy. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas, which helps glucose to reach its destination. When there is reduced production of insulin by the pancreas or if the body does not utilize the insulin properly, there will be a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream which results in increased blood sugar levels called hyperglycemia. If there is a constant increase in the blood sugar level this may lead to other conditions such as heart disease, nerve damage, and eye problems.

What Are the Dietary Changes to Be Done to Manage Diabetes?

Being diagnosed with diabetes can cause a lot of confusion and create many questions in the head. Make these simple lifestyle changes and experience the difference in the fight against diabetes.

  • Start eating a complex carbohydrate, low-fat, high-fiber diet which includes plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. Avoid grapes, bananas, and sapodilla (chikoo). Fibers help in reducing sugar surges.

  • Avoid saturated fats and simple sugars (table sugar).

  • Get protein intake from plant sources like legumes and grains. However, fish and low-fat dairy products are also acceptable sources of dietary proteins.

  • Pre-packaged and processed foods get rapidly absorbed in the first part of the intestine and no food is left to reach the last part of the intestines where a few hormones are released which help in controlling diabetes. Hence avoid packaged and processed foods.

  • Avoid dietary supplements and tonics containing cysteine, vitamin B1, vitamin C, and fish oil.

  • Avoid tobacco in any form. It is nothing less than the most dangerous poison for patients with diabetes and hypertension. Tobacco constricts the blood vessels and reduces oxygen supply to the tissues.

  • Exercise induces an insulin-like effect on our metabolism. So, ensure to get in some form of exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes daily four days a week.

  • Sleep at least eight hours a day for nerves and other body systems to rest and relax which eventually helps in controlling diabetes and general well-being.

How Does Exercise Help to Manage Diabetes?

Exercise is an important way to maintain proper blood sugar levels. When a person does any physical activity the muscles utilize the glucose for energy. Regular exercise helps the body to make use of insulin more effectively. The more strenuous the workout done, the longer the effect. But even light activities such as household activities, gardening, or being on the feet for a long time can improve the level of blood sugar.

A consultation with the doctor regarding exercising should be done,

  • A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise on most days should be done. The proper time to do exercise should be discussed with the doctor, which can differ from the diet and medication taken.

  • The blood sugar level should be monitored before, during, and after exercise if the person is under medication or insulin injection.

  • Exercise can reduce the blood sugar level up to a day later if the exercise is very intense.

  • The person should stay hydrated throughout the time of exercise as dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.

How Does Medication Help Manage Diabetes?

Medications are recommended when just diet and exercise alone cannot manage the blood sugar level. The effectiveness of these medications depends on the time of intake and dosage. Medication that is taken for conditions other than diabetes can also affect the level of blood sugar level.

  • Insulin injections should be stored properly, when expired insulin will not be effective.

  • If the medications recommended cause any issues such as if the blood sugar level drops or there is constant high blood sugar level, then the medication and the time of intake should be altered.

  • If the person is recommended with some other medication for any other condition like high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then it should be checked whether the counter medication will affect the blood sugar level.

How Does Illness Affect Diabetes?

When a person is sick the body releases stress-related hormones to fight the illness, but these hormones tend to increase the blood sugar level. Alteration in the appetite and usual activity can interfere with the management of diabetes.

A sick person can manage diabetes by,

  • Instruction on what medication can be taken and how frequently to measure blood sugar level should be discussed with the doctor.

  • There should be an intake of a lot of water and other drinks which do not add any calories such as tea, which makes sure to stay hydrated.

How Does Alcohol Affect Diabetes?

The liver is the one which stores sugar and releases the stored sugar when there is a drop in the blood sugar level. But when the liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, the blood sugar may not get enough boost from the liver. Intake of alcohol may result in reduced blood sugar levels. Occasional drinking of alcohol is fine, but alcohol can result in other complications of diabetes such as nerve damage, eye problem, etc.

How Does Stress Influence Diabetes?

If the person is under stress and depression, the hormones produced by the body cause increased blood sugar levels. It is hard for a person to maintain a diabetes management routine along with the extra pressure. So, the stress and depression experienced by the person should be taken care of and controlled.


The more a person is aware of the factors that interfere with the blood sugar level the more alteration in the blood sugar can be managed. If there is trouble in managing the blood sugar level, consultation with the doctor is a must. High blood sugar levels can be managed through medication, insulin injections, and regular exercise. Diabetes is a chronic condition, proper lifestyle changes and management can help to lead a healthy life.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Can a Diabetic Person Do to Have a Healthy Life?

To live a normal life, a diabetic person can take certain measures like:  
  - Restricted and coordinated diet.
  - Physical exercise.
  - Hydration. 
  - Medication. 
  - Regular blood glucose monitoring.
  - Monitoring alcohol intake. Stress management.


Is It Possible to Have a Normal Life as a Diabetic?

It is possible to have a normal life with a diabetes diagnosis. One needs to inculcate several lifestyle modifications along with pharmacotherapy to keep diabetes-related complications at bay. Regular monitoring and follow-up are necessary to live a fairly normal and uncomplicated life.


What Not To Do if You Have Diabetes?

Diabetes management requires certain lifestyle changes like avoiding fried foods, high sodium food, baked goods, candies, icecreams, sugary beverages, carbonated drinks, too much alcohol, and stress.


What to Do to Naturally Reverse Diabetes?

Pre-diabetic conditions can be reversed naturally without the need for pharmacotherapeutic intervention. Some of the methods to naturally reverse diabetes are:
- Clean diet.
- Regular exercise.
- Weight loss.
- Smoking cessation.
- Carb-restrictive diet.
- Hydration.


How Good Is Fasting in Diabetics?

Diabetics under medication should not fast as it may lead to a hypoglycemic condition that arises from extremely low sugar in the blood and ultimately leads to diabetic ketoacidosis (excess ketone production in the body), which requires hospitalization.


How to Prevent Diabetes With Vitamins?

According to some studies, the intake of vitamins B1, B12, and D has shown evidence that links to lowering the risk of diabetes.


How Does Diabetes Make You Tired?

Tiredness or fatigue is associated with developing and diagnosed diabetic conditions and may persist even after achieving glycemic control. This is due to the biochemical and ionic changes in the muscles that impact their properties, leading to decreased ATP (adenosine triphosphate- source of energy) synthesis and resulting in fatigue.


Does Diabetes Make You Sleep More?

People with diabetes often have poor sleeping habits. The condition may induce an individual to sleep or may keep others awake.


What Is the Exercise Regime for Diabetics?

Exercise is one of the most important ways to control hyperglycemia. These include, but are not limited to, cycling, swimming, walking, team sports, aerobics, weight lifting, resistance band training, calisthenics, pilates, or yoga.


What Distance or Time Should a Diabetic Walk Every Day?

Supporting evidence suggests that going for a brisk walk for at least five days a week lasting a minimum of 30 minutes each day results in the good management of glucose levels and even lowering blood pressure.


How Does Diabetes Affect Your Memory?

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to cognitive impairment and memory loss, but the exact mechanism for the process is not unknown. A hypothesis suggests vascular impairment in the cranial blood vessels may be etiologic for brain damage.


Does Diabetes Make Someone Disabled?

Some countries like the US and the UK specifically categorize type-1 diabetes as a disability under the disability act, which ensures that people with diabetes have all the accommodations and rights to live a normal life. In many other countries, both type 1 and type 2 have been classified as disabilities.


Do Diabetic Patients Reive Any Benefits?

In the US, diabetes qualifies as a disability under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), which ensures legal protection against discrimination in the workplace and socially. Severe diabetic patients may qualify for benefits through the SSA (Social Security Administration), which gives disability insurance and supplemental income to qualifying patients.


Is It Possible to Prevent Diabetes if It Runs in the Family?

Even with a family history of diabetes, one can prevent such a diagnosis by eating healthy, being physically active, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight.


Who Is More Susceptible to Diabetes?

Certain people with traits may develop type-2 diabetes like:
- Age of 45 years and above.
- Familial history of diabetes.
- Race or ethnicity (African American, Hispanic, Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander).
- Gestational diabetes.
- High blood pressure.
- Overweight.
- Excessive stress in life.
Dr. Rathee Rahul
Dr. Rathee Rahul

General Medicine


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