Diabetes is a chronic hormone-imbalanced disease that impacts millions of people. It happens when the body cannot produce enough insulin, or is unable to direct the body to use the insulin properly. Managing diabetes requires several lifestyle changes, medication, and frequent discussions with physicians, especially an endocrinologist. This is a specialist doctor who understands the endocrine system, which is the various glands that produce hormones throughout the body. These hormones act as messengers to various functions, such as growth, development, and metabolism.
In diabetes, the body’s production of insulin is out of balance, and an endocrinology expert is necessary for proper diagnosis and management. An endocrinologist provides the patient with a course of action and the right medications to help them live with diabetes and thrive.
Tips for diabetes management:
- Monitor blood sugar frequently. This is essential for helping patients understand how their body responds to different foods, physical activity, and medications. Tracking blood sugar provides the healthcare team including the endocrinologist with needed information.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Avoid sugary foods that can spike sugars and instead consume more foods that are high in fiber, low in fat, and contain lean protein.
- Take medications on a schedule. It is important to take them as directed by your healthcare provider / endocrinologist. Do not skip doses or adjust your medication without consulting your doctor, as this might cause further hormonal imbalances and poor outcomes.
- Get active to help lower blood sugar levels. Try to reach 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. Take a hike, go swimming, or ride a bike to improve your diabetes management and to boost overall metabolic health.
- Stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise, so finding ways to manage stress is important for people with diabetes. Some effective stress management techniques include deep breathing, light exercise, therapy, meditation, and exploring nature.
- Get at least eight hours of comfortable and rested sleep every night. Create a sleep routine to encourage deeper sleep that can lower your stress and help self-regulate your hormones.
- Dehydration can cause higher blood sugar levels, so drink a lot of water and other sugar-free drinks frequently. Talk to your endocrinologist about the best options for beverages and foods that can help your diabetes journey.
It is important to note there is Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is insulin-dependent, meaning the patient’s body attacks the pancreas that produces insulin. People with Type 1 need insulin their entire lives to regulate their condition. Type 2 is lifestyle dependent diabetes that is sometimes managed through lifestyle changes but might require some doses of insulin. In either Type, an endocrinology office is the best ally you can have for diabetes management.
Dr. Brian Fertig is an expert in the endocrine system and metabolism. He is a practicing physician and noted author of “Metabolism & Medicine.” His book covers endocrinology, diabetes and diabetes management and details a much broader look at how metabolism impacts human physiology. He ties metabolic processes and imbalances to a range of chronic and age-related diseases. You can buy “Metabolism & Medicine” today.