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Lifestyle Modifications for Diabetics Print E-mail


lifestyle modifications for diabetes


Stop Smoking
Smoking has effects on a healthy person that can be devastating, and these effects can be even worse for the diabetic. Smoking increases your cholesterol levels, and constricts blood vessels. Smoking will increase your number of colds and respiratory infections, and diabetics will experience an increased frequency of nerve and kidney disease, as well as an increased risk for limited joint mobility. Smoking increases your blood sugar level and blood pressure, and can lead to impotence. Smoking can directly increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.

With all these negative effects, it is still difficult to stop smoking. This is because nicotine is so highly addictive. You can also become psychologically addicted to “needing a smoke”. There are several strategies available for quitting. It is important that you integrate the effort on all levels. For instance, a nicotine patch can aid in the physical addiction to nicotine, but it is important to confront the psychological aspects of addiction through counseling and group therapy, as well as behavior modification to ease the urge to smoke. For more information about how you can stop smoking, contact our specialists here.

Lose Weight
You have a one in sixteen (1/16) chance of becoming a diabetic at some point in your life. If you are 20% overweight, you have a 1/8 chance of developing diabetes. If you are 40% overweight, you have a 1/4 chance of developing diabetes. If you had the choice, would you pick to have a 1/16 chance of developing diabetes, or a 1/4 chance (or worse)? You do have the choice- it is made by the lifestyle you choose to lead, including maintaining a healthy, natural body weight. At the Hope4Diabetes Medical Center, our goal is to help you beat those odds. In addition to nutritional counseling, we offer nutritional supplements that will help your appetite and consumption of food draw into a natural balance with a healthy body weight.

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It is helpful to establish regular schedules for different aspects of your lifestyle so that your body can respond in a routine and predictable way to help you maintain a healthy equilibrium. This goes for sleep, meals, work and exercise. You should try to maintain a regular schedule to provide peace and relaxation in your life- rushing around to meet the schedules is not particularly productive toward reducing stress. With the knowledge of what kind of natural schedules you can achieve with the advice of our specialists, you should be able to relax into a healthy lifestyle that gives your body the best chance to respond to the everyday stressors that we can’t avoid.

Diabetes and Sleep
Establishing a regular pattern of sleep can help you avoid developing Type 2 diabetes. If you are spending late hours performing stressful tasks, your metabolism responds by producing stress hormones such as cortisol. Excess cortisol has been linked to an increase in insulin resistance. This may be an effect from disturbing the immune system. For more information about how a healthy immune system is essential for diabetics, click here. Sleep deprivation also directly leads to elevated glucose levels. This may be a response to your body’s perception that you need more energy in response to a stressful situation. Further research has shown that sleep deprivation reduces levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone known as leptin, and boosts the level of ghrelin, an appetite stimulant. This situation is exactly the opposite that a diabetic or pre-diabetic would desire. Most adults feel “rested” after about 7 or 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you are able to establish a regular pattern of sleep, you can avoid or diminish the stresses of sleep deprivation.

Establish Regular Mealtimes and Meals
What you eat certainly has a great effect on your glucose levels. Did you know that it is also easier for your body to deal with changes in glucose when those changes are more predictable? If you can keep a steady, consistent schedule of meals, your body may be better prepared to buffer against excessive glucose levels. Just as a regular bedtime and waking hour are less stressful on your system, so are regular mealtimes.

Another strategy that helps prepare your body for a daily routine is leveling, or “evening-out” the amount of carbohydrates you have at each meal. When you ingest the same glucose load (GL) at the same time every day, there are no "surprises" for your metabolism at mealtimes. The same advice goes for snacks. If you can establish a regular schedule of snacks, and aim for approximately the same amount of carbohydrates at each snack time, your body is better able to buffer the changes in blood glucose. If you have to have sweets, the American Diabetes Association has approved four different artificial sweeteners: Saccharin (Sweet'N Low), Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), Acesulfame potassium (Sunnett), and Sucralose (Splenda). However, don't forget that some foods taste sweeter than you would expect. Most fruits, such as bananas, apples, or strawberries contain only about 15 -30 grams of carbohydrate per serving. For more information about a healthy diet, click here.

Have you ever considered a vegetarian lifestyle? Vegetarians have the benefit of lower fat and cholesterol in their diet, along with typically consuming more fiber than an omnivorous person. You can be as dedicated as a vegan, who eats nothing from animals, including milk and eggs. Or you can be less strict and indulge in the occasional piece of chicken or fish. Either way, increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet is a good start toward better health.

Sometimes a midnight snack is too hard to resist. Unfortunately, this is not generally recommended for the diabetic, especially if the snack is high in carbohydrate. If you find yourself eating late at night because of low blood sugar, you should consult your physician about adjusting your medication. Click here to speak with one of our specialists: Another negative effect of late-night snacks is that they may stimulate you to stay up later, and deprive you of essential sleep. Do you see how your lifestyle choices can have multiple negative or positive effects? At the Hope4Diabetes Medical Center, we will help you integrate the elements of your lifestyle to give you the best chances to lead a healthy and productive lifestyle.

You must also remember to match your medications to your meals. Taking medications on an empty stomach can cause hypoglycemia.

Relaxation Therapies
At the Hope4Diabetes Medical Center, we believe that establishing a healthy lifestyle through careful scheduling of essential daily activities should be a source of peace and relation, not another form of stress. As you implement the lifestyle changes that will help your body establish a healthy equilibrium, you will start to reap the benefits of a healthier existence.

We can counsel you on an exercise and relaxation program that will help you integrate all aspects of your lifestyle to provide the healthiest conditions. One relaxation method that we use is called Immuno-Imagery. This active form of meditation can help you train your mind and body to interact with helpful stimuli. For more information on Immuno-Imagery, click here. Other forms of relaxation therapies include yoga and water exercises. Physical and mental relaxation can be achieved in many different ways, and at the Hope4Diabetes Medical Center we will counsel and discuss with you the many different options that you have to achieve wellness and a balanced equilibrium. Contact us.

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