New survey finds summer is no holiday for people living with Type 2 diabetes

DR. ALI ZENTNERFINDING the motivation to live a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming for many during the summer months when scorching temperatures, patio drinks and indulgent vacation meals can derail even the best of intentions. A new survey finds the season is especially challenging for those living with type 2 diabetes.

Of the more than three million Canadians living with diabetes, 90 per cent have been diagnosed with type 2 and between 15 and 20 per cent of South Asians will develop the disease. The condition can be difficult to treat, and despite the numerous treatment options available, approximately half of all patients do not reach the level of glucose control recommended by their doctor.

According to survey respondents, 26 per cent say the summer months are the most challenging and more than half report they find it difficult to manage their disease during vacations or while travelling. While 81 per cent of survey respondents say they feel motivated to manage their diabetes, over one-quarter say this motivation wanes after six months and 38 per cent feel overwhelmed with everything they need to do to manage their condition.

As a specialist in cardiac risk management and obesity, I suggest to patients that by setting smaller, realistic goals that take a holistic approach to disease management, Canadians living with diabetes can better manage their condition and stay motivated.

Diabetes does not have to be a “death sentence”. This disease can be managed and a large portion of this involves YOU, the patient. Keeping a healthy weight, exercising, monitoring blood glucose levels and adhering to medication are all key factors in achieving optimal health outcomes.

Here are some tips to stay motivated and play a role in your own healthy outcome:

* Find an activity you like doing; when you enjoy your work out you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

* Don’t take on a lifestyle change alone, engage friends and family members to help stay on track.

* Keep a food and fitness diary to keep you accountable.

* Be flexible, have workouts planned for both indoors and outside.

* Speak to your family doctor about new treatments that can help you stay motivated on your diabetes journey