Managing type 2 diabetes is a reality for 26 million Americans. To understand the ways you can manage diabetes without medications, you must consider the risk factors that may have contributed to the development of the condition to begin with.
There are those who are genetically predisposed, and the risk of developing diabetes increases with age. While these risk factors may be out of your control, your risk can still be reduced by proper lifestyle modification.
Then there are the lifestyle factors that elevate risk—like being overweight or obese, carrying extra weight in your abdomen, a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet high in processed foods or carbohydrates—all of which are within our control. With discipline, you can change your lifestyle, which can make a big difference in the development and management of type 2 diabetes.
One of the first things you learn upon being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is that the days of casual eating, or overeating, are behind you. You should not seek out a quick fix, but understand that the successful management of diabetes requires a lifestyle of healthy eating.
The tools for diabetes-specific weight loss and diet abound, with options ranging from countless online resources you can peruse at home to seeking the professional help of a nutritionist. You will likely count carbohydrates, learn how to read food labels and become an expert in the glycemic index.
You should avoid simple carbohydrates and processed foods, which cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and likely contribute to insulin resistance.
Eating a diet that is based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and seafood, instead of a meat-cheese-starch diet has been effective in managing diabetes.
Exercising with type 2 diabetes can be a challenge because you will need to monitor your blood sugar levels before, during and afterward. However, it is imperative that you transition from a sedentary lifestyle to one that includes moderate exercise several times per week.
Start slowly. If you have a sit-down job in an office, take a walk during your lunch break. Set achievable goals and do not have unrealistic expectations, because again you are aiming to develop a lifestyle. Try cycling, swimming, yoga or walking.
Studies show that forming a new habit takes 90 days, and positive self-talk can help you achieve any goal. Approaching your lifestyle overhaul with that mindset will make it less challenging.
Besides, the benefits of improving your health will most likely lead to a lessened reliance on your diabetes medications—and in some cases, patients have completely eliminated the need for medication to control their diabetes.
Diet and exercise can definitely help to manage type 2 diabetes, but medication is often necessary as well. All medications for type 2 diabetes are meant to be used with diet and exercise, not instead of, to control blood sugar levels.
The trouble is that some have found the prescriptions meant to help manage diabetes can have adverse side effects with complications that can lead to a worsened state of health. The reports of serious complications like pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer in patients using Januvia and Byetta should serve as motivation to reduce your reliance on diabetes medications.
Linda Grayling is a writer for Drugwatch.com. She enjoys keeping up with the latest news in the medical field. For up-to-date information, feel free to follow Drugwatch on Twitter.