Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Your Diabetes


Getting a diabetes diagnosis likely feels daunting at first.

According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 million Americans are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Learning the ins and outs of managing diabetes, a condition where insulin is absent or ineffective, depending on the specific type, can be all encompassing.

“If someone wants to manage their diabetes well, sometimes various changes are needed in their day-to-day life,” said Shila O’Reilly, RN, who is a certified diabetes educator at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “Making any kind of change, whether it’s related to diabetes or not can be challenging!”

Diabetes management classes can be beneficial if you’ve recently been diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for a while and are interested in updated information or want to get back on track with caring for your diabetes. 

“Everybody thinks of food when it comes to blood sugar control, but there are many other things that affect sugar levels,” O’Reilly said.

Some factors that influence the body’s sugar levels include stress, sleep, and exercise. But lesser-known things such as the time of day you eat and how quickly you consume the meal can affect it too.

Of course, healthy eating and exercise are part of self-managing diabetes. But other factors are just as important.

The four-part course on diabetes self-management covers many aspects of living with the disease. Classes are held once a week at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington. In the first week, various topics are reviewed including the types of diabetes and what happens in the body, high and low blood sugar, options for monitoring sugar levels, and lifestyle modification. Participants are encouraged to discuss issues they are facing and share experiences with each other. The next week tackles topics such as healthy eating, medication, stress management, cultivating a positive support network, and long-term complications of diabetes. 

The CDC report mentioned above said about 7.2 million people are living with undiagnosed diabetes.

O’Reilly said early symptoms of the disease may be excessive thirst, urinating often, fatigue, and/or change of vision. Symptoms, however, may be more subtle or not present at all.   

If you think you’d benefit from the diabetes self-management classes, register by calling 781.744.2088.  

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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