Diabetes disproportionately affects older adults, and it can lead to poor overall health and a number of serious complications if it’s not kept under control. Small lifestyle changes can have a major impact on diabetes, and the most important of these involve diet and exercise.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
As our bodies age, it becomes more difficult to maintain an ideal balance of nutrients. Episodes of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, are common among aging adults with diabetes, and making changes to your diet is the best defense against this and other symptoms and complications.
Eat a balanced diet of mostly whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid processed foods whenever possible, because these contain large amounts of added sugar that can lead to a spike in your insulin level and raise your blood pressure. Limit your intake of meat and dairy products in order to maintain a healthy cholesterol level, and stay well-hydrated with plenty of water to keep your body’s systems operating optimally.
Get Plenty of Exercise
No matter what shape you’re in right now, starting an exercise regimen will improve your overall health and fitness level, and it can stave off some of the complications that commonly occur with diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults over the age of 65 need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, such as brisk walking, and at least two days per week of strength training that works all of your muscle groups.
Regular exercise helps you maintain healthy blood glucose levels and a healthy weight, and it can prevent health issues that can complicate or worsen diabetes.
Visit Your Doctor Often
Visit your doctor for regular check-ups. Discuss any concerns you have, ask questions, and follow your doctor’s orders. Prevention is key, and your doctor can help you maintain overall good physical health.
It’s important to maintain good mental health, too. If you suffer from a mental illness like anxiety or depression, seek professional help to stabilize your mood, improve your overall quality of life, and make it easier to institute and stick with a healthy lifestyle.
Living with diabetes isn’t easy, but through making the right lifestyle choices and staying on top of your physical and mental health, you can enjoy a long, productive life despite this disease.