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Q. I have diabetes. Aside from medication, are there other things I can do to help control my condition? And will it ever go away?

A. Often, individuals living with diabetes are told by their doctors to lose weight, watch their diet and exercise. That is because these are critical factors to control your diabetes, along with proper medication.

Losing weight is often very difficult for patients, but if you are over your ideal weight, you must try to lose weight to reduce and control your blood sugars. Losing weight also has many other health benefits. The following factors will help in reduction of weight:

Diet: You should always try to eat foods which are high in fiber, low in carbohydrates, low in fat and low in added sugars, especially items with high fructose corn syrup. Avoid pasta, white flour, pizza and desserts. Try to increase green leafy vegetables and low fat meats such as chicken in your diet.

Exercise: If your health conditions allow you to do so, try to exercise or walk for 30 minutes a day 4-5 times a week. You can also split the walk into two 15-minute walks per day. If you cannot walk or exercise on a regular basis, try to walk whenever you can. For example, when you go to do grocery shopping, try to walk through every aisle even if you don’t need anything in that aisle. This will give you additional walking time. Also, don’t park too close to the store. Park farther away so you are forced to walk longer towards your car. Get in the habit of walking as much as you can.

People often ask if their diabetes will ever go away. This really depends on how long you have had your diabetes, your lifestyle, your body weight, your genetics history and how severe your diabetes is. People have been known to control their diabetes with a proper diet, weight control and exercise, without the need for medications. This is especially true for people who are pre-diabetics.

—Dr. Lubna Ahmed, RWJ Family & Internal Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician.