Strategies to Control Your Diabetes
If you've just been told you have diabetes, you can still keep up with the things you love. Manage your health the right way, and you'll live a rewarding, active life. Here’s how.
1. Get Informed
Ask questions and learn as much as you can about:
- Changes you can make to take care of yourself
- Medical treatments you need
Start with your doctor. He can put you in touch with experts that can give you answers, like:
- Diabetes educators
- Other specialists
Talk to your friends and family members who have diabetes. You could also join a support group and connect online with other people who are going through the same things you are. Knowing more will help you make choices.
2. Get the Right Care
You and your doctor will work out a treatment plan to fit your needs. It could include:
Medicines. Whether you need them to help treat your diabetes depends on things like your:
- Blood sugar levels
Lifestyle changes. You'll see your condition get better if you:
- Change your diet
- Lose extra weight
- Get more active
Blood sugar. Your doctor can teach you how to keep track of it and show you what to do to avoid highs and lows.
3. Track Your 'ABCs'
Diabetes makes you more likely to get conditions that may affect your eyes, nerves, heart, teeth, and more. So, you want to watch your diabetes ABCs.
"A" stands for A1c. This test measures your average blood sugar over the past 2 or 3 months. Your goal is to keep your score around 7% or less without risking low blood sugar.
"B" stands for blood pressure. If you have diabetes, you're more likely to get high blood pressure. That can lead to other serious conditions. Get your numbers checked 2 to 4 times each year.
"C" stands for cholesterol. Diabetes can also raise your chances of having high cholesterol, which makes heart disease and strokes more likely. Get it tested at least once every year.
4. Take Steps to Manage Your Diabetes
Once you know more about living with the condition, you’ll be ready to put that knowledge into practice. A healthy lifestyle includes:
- Two to four doctor visits each year
- A balanced diet
- At least 30 minutes of exercise most days
- Steps to reach and keep a healthy weight
- At least two dentist visits a year
- No smoking
- Eye and foot exams every year
- Yearly vaccinations