Staying healthy with diabetes

Making healthy lifestyle choices can help you to live well with diabetes and minimise the risk of developing complications. Your healthy lifestyle choices should include regular physical activity, healthy eating, medication (if needed), blood glucose management and weight control.

Physical activity

By becoming more active you can improve your general health and quality of life, which can help you to live well with diabetes. Learn more about exercising safely with diabetes.

Healthy eating

Healthy eating is an important part of living well with diabetes, so you need to pay attention to what, when and how much you eat every day. Learn more about healthy eating.

Smoking, drugs, alcohol

If you have diabetes you have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels.

Smoking can double this risk, while the use of illicit drugs can also result in poor blood glucose management with potentially serious consequences.

Most people with diabetes can enjoy a small amount of alcohol. However, it’s best to discuss this first with your diabetes healthcare team to check how alcohol could affect you personally.

Medications

Steroids and certain other medications can affect your blood glucose levels. If your doctor prescribes steroids for other medical conditions, you may need additional medications or insulin to help manage your blood glucose levels. It’s important to discuss this or any other new medications with your diabetes healthcare team

Tattoos and piercings

If you are thinking about getting a tattoo or piercing, you’ll need to take measures to help you keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range before, during and after the process to reduce the risk of infections and help you heal effectively.

Staying healthy with diabetes as you age

As you age, your body experiences a natural decline in muscle and bone mass. Regular exercise can slow or even reverse this loss. It can also improve mobility and balance, help reduce muscle and joint pain and reduce the risk of falls.

Keeping active also has a huge impact on your quality of life. Regular exercise can help you maintain independence and social interaction, as well as helping to prevent dementia and depression.

There are many ways to get active, it’s never too late to start and almost every activity can be modified to suit any fitness level. Brisk walking, gentle swimming, working in the garden, or doing tai chi or dance classes are all ways to stay active.

We recommend that you make food choices based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines focus on choosing a variety of nutritious foods, based on high fibre carbohydrates and healthy fats in moderation.

A good balance of foods can help you to keep your weight and blood glucose levels within healthy ranges and improve your general wellbeing.

There are many services available to help you live well with diabetes.

For more information speak with your healthcare team, call Diabetes NSW & ACT on 1300 342 238 or visit your GP or your local community health centre.

Join our community of over 45,000 people living with diabetes

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