Over ten percent of the U.S. population currently lives with diabetes, and every year 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed with diabetes. Although it is a common and heavily researched chronic disease, there is still misinformation and myths about how to manage diabetes. Managing diabetes well is essential to maintaining good health and overall well-being. See how you’re doing with diabetes management by taking the quiz below!
1. True or False: Eating sugar-free foods has no effect on my blood sugar.
2. What type of diet is the most healthy and sustainable for diabetics?
c. Any balanced diet
3. Which of these habits is most detrimental to those managing diabetes?
a. High-intensity exercise
b. Smoking and using other tobacco products
c. Enjoying some Halloween candy with your children
d. Ketogenic diet
4. True or False: Diabetes has effects on not only your physical health, but your mental health.
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5. What is the best way to manage consistently high blood sugar?
a. Consistent moderate exercise, at least three times a week
b. Following a meal plan recommended by your care team
c. Checking blood sugar more regularly to monitor levels
d. Taking medicine as instructed by your doctor
6. True or false: A diabetes diagnosis means constantly sacrificing being fully present in your life in order to best manage diabetes.
1. False: Although sugar-free foods are a very helpful alternative for diabetics to choose from, they are not the cure-all for those with a sweet tooth. It is still important to remember that these foods contain carbohydrates in some form, hence the sweet flavor. Although it might
not be sugar or sucrose, these products typically contain artificial sweeteners that will still affect your blood sugar levels.
2. C. Any balanced diet: Many times the ketogenic diet or low-carb diets are marketed toward diabetes. While diabetics should cautiously monitor their carb consumption, the human body still needs carbs to function. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy to perform its essential functions. While keto or low-carb diets can work for some, they tend not to be as sustainable since they cut out or severely limit a certain food group. What is most important about your diet is that it’s balanced! Make sure to include fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein. When thinking about carbs, do not back away from them! Just make sure to balance them. Find alternatives like brown rice, quinoa, or barley that are still delicious carbs but do not have as much of an impact on your blood sugar.
3. B. Smoking and using other tobacco products: Smoking and other tobacco products have been proven to be detrimental to everyone’s health, however, the concern is even more serious for diabetes. This is because both diabetes and smoking tighten blood vessels. This causes your heart to work much harder to get blood pumping throughout your body, leading to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, amputation, and other dangerous conditions. By cutting out tobacco products diabetics reduce their risks for these diseases, improve blood circulation, and improve cholesterol.
4. True: Studies have shown that those who have chronic conditions are more likely to live with depression and anxiety. For this reason, diabetes not only affects physical health, but also impacts mental health. This means managing your diabetes also includes caring for your mind. This may be different for everyone. This can include meditation, therapy, exercise, journaling, painting, or anything else that eases your mind and soul.
5. Trick Question! It’s all of the above! All of these measures are great to take if you’re struggling with consistently high levels of blood sugar. Consistent exercise, a well-balanced diet, routinely monitoring your blood sugar, and taking your prescriptions as instructed by your doctor are all effective measures to lower blood sugar over time.
6. False: Diabetes does not mean your life as you know is over! It actually means you can use this opportunity to try new things and live a healthier life. This is a chance to be more intentional in what goes in your body and how you’re taking care of it. Adjust, monitor, and re-adjust again as needed. And remember that you don’t always need to fully sacrifice the good things in life.
How’d you do? Tally up how many you got correct:
1-2: Nice start! Consider talking with your healthcare professional and doing some additional research to figure out the best choices you can make to better manage your diabetes.
3-4: You’re almost there! You got some of the good stuff down, but there’s always more room to learn and grow. Consider if there are any habits missing from your current routine that could help better manage diabetes.
5-6: You’re a rockstar! It looks like you’re taking the right steps towards living a healthy life with diabetes. Keep up the good work and be consistent!