Can you reverse diabetes? While there’s currently no cure for type 2 diabetes, there are some things you can do to reverse the effects of the condition which include changing your diet and physical activity. But what exactly should you change? Read these top 10 tips to help you reverse the progression of diabetes.
Lose weight, if needed.
Unfortunately, the majority of people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
Because excess weight is associated with higher blood glucose levels and complications, it’s important that people with diabetes who are overweight lose some of that excess weight. The good news is that studies have shown that losing between 5 to 10% of initial body weight can improve your diabetes control and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Practice portion control
Practice portion control.
Eating healthy food is important for people with diabetes, but too much of a good thing can still be bad for your health!
While paying attention to portion size sounds really simple, the truth is that although many people eat healthy food, they simply eat too much of it. Eating three meals a day – spaced no more than six hours apart – helps reduce overeating. The plate method is an excellent tool to help with portion control.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Count your calories
Count your calories.
Watching your calorie intake is an excellent way to ensure that you eat only as much food per day as you need for energy.
Health Canada has guidelines regarding daily caloric requirements for males and females, depending on whether they lead a sedentary, low-active or active lifestyle. Click here to learn more about how many calories you should be consuming per day.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Watch your carbohydrate intake
Watch your carbohydrate intake.
Carbohydrate is found in many foods, including grains and starches, fruits, legumes, milk, sugary foods and many prepared foods. Conversely, meat, most vegetables and fats contain little carbohydrate. Your healthcare team can help you set a goal for how many grams of carbohydrate you should consume at each meal and snack.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Consider weight loss surgery, if needed
Consider weight loss surgery, if needed.
Weight loss surgery may be an option for people with type 2 diabetes who are very overweight.
In fact, the Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines recommend that adults with type 2 diabetes who have a body mass index of 35 kg/m2 or higher may be considered for weight loss surgery when lifestyle interventions (such as nutrition and physical activity) do not result in a healthy weight. For more information about weight loss surgery, click here.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Increase your physical activity
Increase your physical activity.
Everyone benefits from regular exercise, whether or not they have diabetes.
Well-known health benefits of physical activity include weight loss, stronger bones, improved blood pressure control, lower rates of heart disease and cancer, and increased energy levels. Regular exercise also has special advantages if you have type 2 diabetes, because it improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Read more about exercise guidelines for Canadians.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Reduce your stress levels
Reduce your stress levels.
Stress can cause blood sugars to rise. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed out, there are some simple and effective stress management techniques you can use.
Calming techniques include taking long, deep breaths to soothe your body and your mind. You could also run a warm (not too hot!) bubble bath and relax in the soothing warmth, listen to your favourite music, or sit down with a good book or magazine and read a few pages. You could also write down your feelings, or talk with a trusted family member or friend. The time spent on these techniques will help you turn your attention away from stressful thoughts.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Get a good night's sleep
Get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep can affect your blood sugar levels and your blood sugar control can also affect your sleep, all of which can result in difficulty sleeping. If you get too little sleep, it can result in increased blood sugar levels.
Difficultly staying asleep during the night could be a result of a number of issues, including night-time low or highs, or sleep apnea (which can be common in people with type 2 diabetes who are overweight). The most important thing you can do is ensure your blood sugars are at normal levels when you go to bed – neither high nor low – and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Take your medications as prescribed
Take your medications as prescribed.
Taking your medications exactly as prescribed by your healthcare team is very important. Whether you take pills, injectable medications, or insulin, your medication helps ensure that your blood sugar levels are at target.
Delaying or skipping medication doses altogether can increase your risk of hyperglycemia, as well as the complications of diabetes.
Click the blue dot below to read the next tip: Visit your healthcare team on a regular basis
Visit your healthcare team on a regular basis.
Regular visits that focus only on your diabetes are helpful so that things don’t get overlooked. In fact, it’s recommended that you have a diabetes-focused visit with your healthcare team at least twice per year. Here is what you can expect during your visit:
- Review recent lab tests, and all the medications and supplements you take.
- Discuss daily and overall blood glucose trends, particularly if you are regularly experiencing lows or highs.
- Have blood pressure measured at every visit, and your feet examined at least once per year.
- Be assessed for the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Talk about physical activity, food choices, smoking, mood and sexual function.
To get the most out of your appointment, it’s a good idea to prepare by having any laboratory tests (for example, an A1C test) done ahead of time. You should also bring your blood sugar records and your blood glucose meter, so that you can review your results together. Finally, write down any questions you want to ask your healthcare team – it can be hard to remember everything you want to discuss right in the moment!