Today, there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it does produce. Changing your lifestyle can be a big step towards managing, as well as preventing type 2 diabetes.
Below are five steps that can help in the management and prevention of type 2 diabetes:
- Know your risk factors
Understanding your risk factors is key to managing type 2 diabetes. Many Canadians have at least one risk factor, making it important to assess your risk regularly. Anyone over the age of 40 should be tested for diabetes every three years, while people with one or more risk factors should be tested more frequently.
Some risk factors can be changed with lifestyle adjustments while others like age and family history, cannot be changed. Modifying the risk factors that can be changed, can reduce your risk of developing diabetes or prevent other diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, vision problems, or nerve damage. This is why it is important to work with your doctor, pharmacist, and other members of your health care team to help identify your risks.
Below are some risk factors that can and cannot be changed:
|Risk factors you can modify||Risk factors you cannot modify|
|High blood glucose||Age|
|High blood pressure||Family history|
|High blood cholesterol||Ethnicity|
|Physical inactivity||Diabetes compilations|
- Maintain a healthy weight to help control blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fat levels.
In combination with healthy eating and physical activity, managing a healthy weight can have great benefits like:
- Improve blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipids
- Reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease and stroke
- Improve general well-being and energy levels
Check your healthy weight
You can determine your healthy weight by comparing your height and weight using the Body Mass Index (BMI) method. Visit your local Save-On-Foods pharmacy for a body fat test and BMI calculation.
Check your blood sugars level
Your blood sugar level changes throughout the day. Regular blood sugar monitoring will help manage your diabetes concerns. Using a blood glucose meter can:
- Tell you what your blood glucose is at the moment
- Help you to understand the impact that food, activity, medication and even stress or illness can have on your results
- Determine if you are hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemic (high blood sugar)
- Help you and your healthcare provider make adjustments to your diabetes plan.
Upgrade to the Free* Contour Next One* with new capabilities like:
- Second-Chance® Sampling
- Add events to your readings
- Mobile Diabetes app
Free* with purchase of test strips (100’s); Bonus offer: free microlet lancets (200’s)
Remember to always check your blood glucose with a purpose in mind and also to keep an accurate record of your results to share with your doctor, pharmacist and other members of your health care team.
3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is high in fibre and whole grains. Limit processed foods.
- Choose whole and less refined foods instead of processed foods, such as choosing a whole fruit versus a fruit juice
- Include low-glycemic foods such as legumes, whole grains and vegetables; these foods help control blood sugars and cholesterol levels.
- Select unsaturated dietary fats such as olive oil and nuts and seeds.
- Main protein sources should include lean animal protein, like fish or chicken, and more plant-based proteins.
- Some diets that work well for diabetes management include Mediterranean style, Nordic style, Dash or Vegetarian style diets.
Source: 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for Diabetes Care
Working with a Registered Dietitian can help you achieve your blood sugar and weight management goals. Book a free nutrition tour at: www.saveonfoods.com/nutrition-tours
We have a great library of healthy recipes if you need to find some healthy eating inspiration! Try some of our favourites like:
- Pesto Salmon with Spinach Chickpea & Quinoa salad
- Grilled Chicken with Mango Lime salsa
- Kale Strawberry Ginger Smoothie
- Get regular physical activity
Being physically active can improve health in many ways and make you feel better overall. Exercise for people with Type 1 diabetes has been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack. For people with Type 2 diabetes, physical activity makes muscles more sensitive to insulin. This may mean that less medication is needed to achieve target blood glucose levels.
Diabetes Canada recommends that people with Type 2 diabetes partake in aerobic activity (eg. brisk walking, cycling, swimming) at least every other day for a total of at least 150 minutes a week. Diabetes Canada also recommends incorporating resistance exercise (eg. lifting weights) 3 times a week. Consult with a qualified exercise specialist or diabetes educator before beginning resistance exercises and start slowly.
About 1 in 3 Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes, and half of those with pre-diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes if no actions are taken to modify risk factors. See our Save-On-Foods pharmacist and receive:
- Personalized risk assessment
- Blood glucose test*
- Preventative lifestyle tips
- Medication check-up