When your pancreas is not producing enough insulin, or, your body is not efficiently using the insulin it produces glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of providing your body the energy it needs to properly function.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body to control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood.
- Insulin regulates sugar in your bloodstream. It keeps the level of sugar in your bloodstream within a normal range.
- Storage of excess glucose for energy. When your insulin levels are high (after you eat) excess sugar is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen.
- When your insulin levels are low (between meals) the liver releases glycogen into the bloodstream in the form of sugar and keeps your blood sugar levels within a narrow range.
The foods you eat (example) bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit, milk, rice, provide the body with glucose however, in order for the body to use this glucose your body needs insulin.
Your body gets glucose from foods like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and fruit. To use this glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body to control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood.
Finding the positive
You can live a long, healthy life when you keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels in the target range set by you and your health-care provider. You might need to make some changes in your life, all for the better. Here are some suggestions:
- Eat healthy meals and snacks
- Exercise regularly, any form of physical exercise
- Monitor your blood glucose (sugar) with a home blood glucose meter*
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Manage stress effectively through yoga, pilates, zumba, physical exercise
- If you are on prescribed medications, take your meds and keep in touch with your health care provider
- * Discuss with your health-care provider how often you should measure your blood glucose (sugar) level
Reach out for help
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to manage and live well with your diabetes.
- It can also help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from developing.
- Regular physical activity improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps manage your blood glucose (sugar) levels.
- Physical activity is any form of movement that causes your body to burn calories. This can be as simple as walking, gardening, cleaning and many other activities you may already do.
- When you perform a physical activity, active muscles use up glucose as a source of energy.
- Regular physical activity helps to prevent glucose from building up in your blood.
- Physical activity is one of the simplest ways to help keep you healthy.
The convenience of modern day living has taken away a lot of the physical activities we once performed on a regular basis. For instance:
- Cars replace walking and biking.
- Elevators and escalators replace stairs.
- Dishwashers replace doing dishes by hand.
- Computers replace manual labour.
- Snow blowers and ride-on lawn mowers replace physical yard work.
- TV and computer games replace fun physical activities for both children and adults.
- Because of modern living, it is important to pay attention to your health and well being; become physically active each day and eat healthy, balanced meals.
Adding more physical activity to your day is one of the most important things you can do to help manage your diabetes and improve your overall health.
Did you know?
- Low physical fitness is as strong a risk factor for mortality as smoking?
- Fitness level is one of the strongest predictors of all-cause mortality in people with diabetes?
- Physical activity can be as powerful as glucose-lowering medication… with fewer side effects?
- Regular physical activity, in conjunction with healthy eating and weight control, can reduce type 2 diabetes incidence by 60 per cent?
Your Safety First
- Before starting on an exercise regime and especially if you have been inactive for some time, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program to ensure you can endure more than brisk walking.
- You need to wear comfortable, proper-fitting shoes.
- Wear your Medic Alert® bracelet or necklace.
- Listen to your body. Speak to your doctor if you are very short of breath or have chest pain.
- If you take insulin or medications that increase insulin levels, monitor your blood glucose before, during and many hours after your activity to see how it affects your blood glucose levels.
- Carry some form of fast-acting carbohydrate with you in case you need to treat low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia), for example, glucose tablets (preferred) or Life Savers®.
Resistance exercise: involves brief repetitive exercises with weights, weight machines, resistance bands or one’s own body weight to build muscle strength.
Before you begin resistance exercise, it is important to get some instruction from a qualified exercise specialist, a diabetes educator or exercise resource (such as a video or brochure). Always start slowly and listen carefully to your body.
Physical activity and diabetes can be a complex issue. If you need help and/or advice on how to become physically active, you can ask your doctor or a member of your diabetes health-care team for support that is right for you.
Click here for the Canadian Diabetic Association
Click here for the American Diabetic Association.