When you have diabetes, it is often accompanied by issues with high blood pressure. While there are several key items involved in both of these issues, the way you approach keeping them within normal ranges is important. Here’s how to manage your diabetes and high blood pressure, get control of your numbers and live a healthy lifestyle.
Test, Test and Test
Let’s talk about keeping statistics so you are well-informed about your numbers. The first important number for a diabetic is to know what your fasting blood sugar is – the one where you measure what your blood sugar is when you first wake up in the morning. If you take meds, this is a good indication on whether they are helping you to keep your blood sugar where it needs to be. Once you know that number, everything else you plan for the day to keep it under control will be easier.
At the same time, get a reading on your blood pressure. Log both of these numbers in a personal diary. Subsequent readings for blood sugar should be taken at an interval at 2 hours after a meal. Every time you measure blood sugar or blood pressure, get those readings down in that personal diary. These statistics will assist you in tracking your personal numbers and making those needed changes to keep your numbers stable and in control.
Build Exercise Into Your Routine
30 minutes a day is the target and a good rule of thumb to follow. What kind of exercise? The kind that gets your heart rate up but any that gets you moving is the best. You don’t have to get it all in at once; ten minutes three times a day is a good way to get it in but it is important to get that 30 minutes to reach your goal. Walking is a favorite of mine but I keep up with all my movement during the day. Make it fun and keep score – It’s a fundamental part of keeping those blood sugar and blood pressure numbers normal.
Hydration is Key
Why is water so important? Here are some facts you need to know:
- Water dilutes the amount of glucose in your blood stream. It helps with the excretion of excess amounts of glucose from the kidneys and helps increase the blood volume in relation to the amount of glucose in your blood stream.
- Water helps reduce insulin resistance and assists cells in the body to utilize glucose more efficiently.
- Water also plays a role in curbing your appetite before meals. Having a full glass of water before meals will help get you satisfied more quickly at meal time and reaching that sensation of fullness after a meal.
- Water helps with mineral absorption throughout the body. You are what you absorb – getting proper vitamin and mineral supplementation in addition to being hydrated can help with managing diabetes and blood pressure control.
Water also helps with blood pressure by assisting in the regulation of sodium in the body. Drinking the right amount of water to maintain hydration is important. A good rule of thumb is to divide the body weight in pounds by two and drink that much in ounces – for example a 250 pound person should look to drink 125 ounces of water to stay hydrated without burdening the kidneys. A glass of water usually contains 8 ounces so make sure you drink up.
Take Your medication and Discuss Things With Your Doctor
Consistency is the key to taking your meds. Aim to take your meds at the same time each day as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t skip doses and note when you take doses to avoid taking double doses of a medication. If you’ve been keeping up with recording blood sugars and blood pressures, it will help when you go to your doctor appointments so your doctor will know when to make changes to your medication to assist in keeping things in control.
Discuss how your medications are working with your doctor. Be honest about how your medications are working including side effects you experience on medications and adverse reactions to a medicine. Share your numbers and talk about ways to better your blood sugar and blood pressure control. Your doctor may make recommendations about meal planning and exercise. Be proactive in your discussions and make sure you and your doctor are on the same page when it comes to your health.
Work on Your Weight
When it comes to controlling your weight, goal setting is what you want to focus on. Avoid doing fad diets and quick fix solutions. A good rule of thumb is to work to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week if you have weight to lose. A combination of exercise and meal planning is your best method of attack for weight loss. Track your goals daily and record them somewhere so you can be aware of them.
Focus on smaller and well spaced meals and a steady exercise routine. Small changes are the best. Watch those carbs and get your work in on your exercise. The scale will reward your efforts. Adjust your goals periodically as the body naturally adjusts its metabolism as you lose weight and you will be successful.
Don’t Give Up!
It’s easy to throw in the towel when things get tough – don’t do it! To get anywhere you have to keep at it and keep going to get results. Find someone to support your efforts and keep in touch to reach your goals. People who record their numbers and regularly review are the ones who are successful in keeping their diabetes and blood pressure in control. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon; long and steady improvement is what you’re after.
Review your progress frequently. Check your boxes daily. Persevere, persist and be consistent in your efforts. Take your time and remember you are the key to keeping the focus on your diabetes and high blood pressure numbers.