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Diabetes Health Center

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5 Tips to Get Your Diabetes Under Control

continued...

"I typically count them as half the carb," Crandall says. "They may not spike your blood sugar as quickly but they will cause a rise." 

Think of Exercise as Medicine

It’s a great way to lower blood sugar, Reddy says, but the effects wear off within a week after you stop. 

You need to do it regularly. Try to get 150 minutes a week. You can break that up into smaller chunks, like half an hour a day, 5 days a week. You don’t have to become a gym rat, either. It’s OK to walk, run, or bike. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan before you start.

Physical activity also releases compounds your body makes called endorphins, which boost your mood.

Know Your Numbers

Blood-sugar readings aren’t the only numbers you need to keep track of. Your doctor will also watch your blood pressure and cholesterol.

These numbers will tell you if your health is on track: 

  • A1c, which measures blood sugar levels over time. This should be tested at least twice a year. 
  • Cholesterol levels, which should be tested at least every 5 years and more often if you have trouble with it. 
  • Blood pressure and weight, which will get checked every time you visit the doctor.

Build a Dream Team

Diabetes is a whole-body, whole-person disease and is best treated by a team of experts, headed by you, of course. This can include your doctor along with a nutritionist, dentist, pharmacist, nurse, and others.

"Diabetes is a complex disease. Your doctor can't do it alone," says Olveen Carrasquillo, MD, chief of the division of general internal medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

And don't forget your friends and family. People with social and family support are more likely to stick to their plans.

"There are two parts. There's a health care team but also a home team," Carrasquillo says.

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Reviewed on December 21, 2015

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