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diabetes research

How to live with diabetes

Improving your health and quality of life

Once diagnosed with diabetes, it’s time to start taking the necessary steps to get your health under control and improve your quality of life. 

It’s essential to take charge of the situation by learning as much as you can about the disease and its management. Setting yourself achievable goals, adopting a diabetes diet, and exercising more are just three small steps on the path to improving your overall health.

Are you aware of the cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes?

People with type 2 diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to someone living without diabetes.5,6

Learn how you can potentially reduce the risk.

Read more about diabetes and treatment of diabetes

Blood sugar levels

Blood sugar levels

Learn how routine, strict recording methods, accurate readings and being vigilant can help you keep track of your blood sugar levels.

Digital technology and diabetes

Digital technology and diabetes

Digital technology is advancing in every aspect of life and managing diabetes is no exception. So, how can new technology help with managing your diabetes?

How does exercise impact diabetes

How does exercise impact diabetes

How a small increase in physical activity can help lower your blood sugar and make your body more sensitive to insulin.

Treatment of diabetes
1 min. read

Treatment of diabetes

Lifestyle and various diabetes medications all play key roles in living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Tackling diabetes head-on can be stressful, emotional and overwhelming. Taking charge of your diagnosis early and tackling your situation head-on is a proactive way to get on top of this chronic condition.

How to handle your diagnosis depends on what stage of diabetes you’re at. Pre-diabetes can largely be managed through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.8 If you have type 2 diabetes, a progressive disease, you may find your treatment plans change over time.

How to help manage diabetes with diet and exercise 

Lifestyle changes are the first steps to improve your overall health and boost your quality of life when suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes.2

Diabetes diet tips: 

  • Create a personalised ‘living with diabetes’ meal plan  
  • Eat a variety of foods  
  • Watch portion sizes
  • Eat regularly  
  • Balance the amount you eat 
  • Count carbs (glucose is a carbohydrate, so the number of carbs you eat will directly affect your blood sugar levels)  

Diabetes exercise tips:

  • Become more physically active   
  • Try low-impact activities 
  • Incorporate more movement into your day 
  • Set yourself achievable goals  

Lifestyle changes to expect when living with diabetes

Dietary changes

Expect to be told to reduce your fat intake, eat leaner meats, watch your portion size and think carefully about the type of carbohydrates you are putting in your body.10

A diet can be tough to stick to, but there’s lots of inspiring diabetic meal planners and tasty diabetes recipes that will help you control diabetes with diet. Learn more about diabetes diet here.

Increase in physical activity
If you weren’t active before being diagnosed with diabetes, the first change you’ll likely notice is having to carve out time to work out.9 We’re not talking about giving up three days a week to train for a marathon but giving up even an hour of your time to exercise may seem like hard work at first. Get started with exercise here.
Recognising symptoms of hypos  
Being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes means you’re always on the lookout for symptoms.  

People with diabetes may experience low blood sugar, which is also called hypoglycaemia or a “hypo”. Some of the common symptoms of hypos include confusion, intense hunger, feeling sick, clumsiness, blurred vision and slurred speech. You may find you experience one or more of these when your blood sugar levels are low.11 You can learn more about hypos here. 

  1. Mosenzon O, et al. CAPTURE: a multinational, cross-sectional study of cardiovascular disease prevalence in adults with type 2 diabetes across 13 countries. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2021; 20:154.
  2. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Atlas 10th Edition, 2021. Available from: https://diabetesatlas.org/idfawp/resource-files/2021/07/IDF_Atlas_10th_Edition_2021.pdf. Last accessed: January 2024.
  3. WHO. Diabetes. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes. Last accessed: January 2024.
  4. American Diabetes Association. The Big Picture: Checking Your Blood Sugar. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/checking-your-blood-sugar. Last accessed: January 2024.
  5. Almdal T, Scharling H, Jensen JS, Vestergaard H. The independent effect of type 2 diabetes mellitus on ischemic heart disease, stroke, and death: a population-based study of 13,000 men and women with 20 years of follow-up. Arch Intern Med 2004; 164:1422–1426.
  6. Fox CS, Coady S, Sorlie PD, et al. Trends in cardiovascular complications of diabetes. JAMA 2004; 292:2495–2499.
  7. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Technology: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2022. Diabetes Care 2022; 45 (Suppl 1):S1-S264.
  8. Diabetes UK. Diabetes and exercise. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/exercise. Last accessed: January 2024.
  9. NIDDK. Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance. Last accessed: January 2024.
  10. NIDDK. Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity. Last accessed: January 2024.
  11. NHS UK. Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/low-blood-sugar-hypoglycaemia/. Last accessed: January 2024.