6 Ways to Wreck Your Blood Sugar Level
What not to do if you have type 2 diabetes.
3. Going It Alone
There are a lot of resources to help you manage your diabetes. One of the most helpful might be right at home. Spouses, partners, friends, and family members can make great exercise buddies.
“One error that people make when it comes to exercise is that they try to do it on their own without help from other people,” Ahmann says.
There are other advantages to the buddy system. Ask your spouse or significant other to help you stick your medication schedule and eat a healthy diet.
“Eating alone can be a problem,” Ahmann says.
4. Neglecting Other Problems
Srikanthan sees a lot of patients who are dealing with more than just their diabetes. Depression and stress are common, and both can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels.
Constant stress, for example, may make hormones that hamper the ability of insulin to do its job. “Stress should be considered as a significant contributor to glycemic variation by both patients and physicians,” Srikanthan says.
“Anything to reduce stress will improve your blood sugar,” he says.
Exercise helps relieve stress, and there’s evidence that meditation and massage will have benefits on blood sugar levels, Ahmann says.
People with diabetes are twice as likely to be depressed, and an estimated 1 in 3 people with diabetes have symptoms of depression. The lethargy common to depression can be so discouraging that you might give up your efforts to take care of your diabetes. Not only will that make your diabetes worse, it may also intensify your depression, creating a vicious cycle.
There’s good news, though. According to a new study, treating depression in patients with type 2 diabetes improved their mental and physical health.
“You need to recognize depression and work with it,” Srikanthan says.
5. Misunderstanding and Misusing Medications
Ahmann says many of his patients share a common misconception when it comes to the drugs used to control their disease.
“They think that medications are more powerful than diet and exercise,” he says.
That’s not necessarily true. In many cases, type 2 diabetes can be controlled by a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise without the need for medication.
Among patients who do require medications, Ahmann says, one mistake stands out.
“It’s surprising how many people miss doses,” he says.
That’s a quick way to wreck your blood sugar level, so it’s a problem that needs to be recognized and addressed.
“You need to be honest with your [health care] provider that this is an issue,” says Ahmann, who points out that often the solution is for your doctor to change your dosing schedule to one that better suits you. “There are options.”