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What Can I Do about Fatigue?

Tips to help fight low energy when living with type 2 diabetes

If you’re living with type 2 diabetes, you might sometimes feel fatigued or low energy, for a number of reasons. If exhaustion is becoming a part of your life, check with your diabetes care team, and see if any of these tips may help. (Read more about why fatigue sometimes accompanies type 2 diabetes.)

Try for your target

If you have type 2 diabetes and your blood glucose level is consistently running higher than your target range, a top priority is managing your blood sugar to keep those numbers in the target range most of the time. Work with your diabetes care team to help figure out the most effective approaches to managing your blood sugar. (Read more about managing blood sugar levels.)

Catch some ZZZs

It makes sense that not sleeping, or not sleeping well, might cause fatigue! I know I’ve felt the difference after a really good night’s sleep … compared to one spent tossing and turning. Many things can interfere with sleep. You may need to work on stress management, or cut back on beverages or foods that contain caffeine or other stimulants – especially after dinner. (Get tips for creating a tranquil sleep space here.) If you’re getting enough sleep but still don’t feel rested, it’s possible a sleep disorder is interfering with quality sleep. Talk to your healthcare team about whether you should consider having a sleep study done, and do mention if you are a heavy snorer. (Try these eight tips for eight hours of sound sleep.)

Watching your weight

Losing weight may provide health benefits, including improved blood glucose levels, blood lipids, and blood pressure. Healthy eating habits and routine exercise may help people lose weight. Some people also benefit from counseling for weight loss. Work with your healthcare team to set your weight loss goal, and to get help selecting appropriate types and intensities of physical activity.

Manage the stress

Stress can interfere with sleep and drain your energy. Tips for managing stress include seeking counseling, slowing down, getting regular physical activity, and taking time for yourself. (Read how writer Catherine Price used mindfulness techniques developed for those living with diabetes to reduce her stress levels.)

Some of these tips may also apply to people who are caring for someone who lives with diabetes. I was feeling exhausted after writing about fatigue and low energy, but I find writing about options energizes me! I advise people, especially those living with diabetes, to stay positive, find what motivates them, and focus on their options.

Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE* (@janekdickinson) is a nurse and diabetes educator in Northwestern Colorado. She is the program coordinator and faculty for the online Master of Science in Diabetes Education and Management program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Jane is also the author of People With Diabetes Can Eat Anything: It’s All About Balance. Dickinson is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.

© 2015 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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