In our busy lives, it can be difficult to manage long term illnesses and conditions effectively. Diabetes is a condition we’re hearing more about, with cases rising from 1.4 million to 3.5 million in the UK since 1996*.
There are two types: Type 1, which relies on regular injections of insulin for life and is usually (but not always) diagnosed in childhood, and Type 2, which is often related to obesity and can be controlled by medication, diet and exercise. Type 2 diabetes is now one of the world’s most common long term health conditions.
A third of people living with diabetes are reported to experience a lack of understanding and support from colleagues in the workplace**. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and feel you could benefit from some support to manage your condition, we’ve put together some helpful tips.
1. Adopt healthier eating habits
Be careful with your sugar intake and try to cut down if you’re overweight. Swap sugary, unhealthy snacks for fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. Cut back on processed, frozen and tinned foods that are often high in salt. You should also pay attention to your portion control – Diabetes UK provide some useful guidance here.
2. Lose weight
Set achievable and realistic goals – drastic weight loss in a short amount of time is usually not sustainable. Making healthier food and drink choices, and increasing exercise gradually, will help you to lose weight sustainably.
3. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly
Keep on top of measuring your blood sugar levels with your blood monitoring machine. This can help to improve the way you take your medication.
4. Keep on top of your blood pressure
Diabetes can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly and reporting any anomalies to your GP can help to keep on top of things.
5. Be a stress-buster
Stress can increase your blood sugar levels, which can be harmful for diabetics. Exercise can be used as a tool to tackle stress, or you can practice deep breathing techniques and meditation.
6. Stay hydrated
Drinking water can help to flush excess sugar from your system and balance your blood sugar levels. Keep a bottle handy and within reach.
7. Pack emergency snacks
Always travel with a high-carb snack, and keep a few glucose tablets or hard sweets on your person. These come in handy if your blood sugar level drops.
8. Develop good sleep hygiene
Diabetes can disrupt your sleep because sleeping affects your blood sugar levels. Avoid napping in the day as this can add to unrest in the night. Develop a relaxing night time ritual and avoid looking at screens one hour before you lay down to sleep.
9. Quit smoking
Stopping smoking can help with the management of diabetes. Seek advice and support from your GP, or you could join a local group for additional support.
10. Prepare when travelling
Prepare for delays, airports and changing time zones. Make sure to carry extra medication with you, as well as a letter from your doctor that details the medication you need and why. Take your prescription with you when travelling, as well as a blood testing meter, extra test strips and lancets (finger prick devices).
11. Be careful when ill
Just like stress, being ill can also increase your blood sugar levels, which can bring extra complications for diabetics. Be more vigilant in monitoring your blood sugar levels and contact your GP as soon as possible with any adverse symptoms.
If you are of working age and trying to manage a long term condition such as diabetes, there are ways your employer can support you to stay in control of your health and wellbeing. Our app for employees, BHSF Connect, brings together services such as an online health checker, healthy eating and exercise advice, gym discounts and 24/7 access to a GP helpline. Mention this to your HR Manager and ask them to get in touch with us for more information. They can contact our team on 0121 629 1084 or click here – BHSF Connect .
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