Tips to Get Your Type 2 Diabetes Under Control
Some good habits will help you improve your life with diabetes.
Keep It In Check
Make a date with a dietitian. "It's a myth that there's a one-size-fits-all diabetes diet," says Amy Campbell, RD, CDE, manager of clinical education programs at Joslin Diabetes Center. Your age, weight, activity level, and medications all make a difference.
A dietitian can help you make an eating plan that's right for you. Together, you'll set daily calorie and carbohydrate targets. You'll probably meet several times early on -- after that, once a year.
Don’t fill up on sugar-free foods. Remember, no-sugar cakes and candy can still have carbohydrates and calories.
"Sugar-free foods aren't necessarily better. They're often made with sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol, which have a laxative effect in some people," Campbell says.
Try a small portion of a sugar-sweet treat instead. You might enjoy one bite of a chocolate chip cookie more than a sugar-free substitute.
Check your feet daily. High blood sugar levels can damage nerves in your feet, making them numb to any damages. Check for cuts, blisters and other injuries. You might not be able to feel them, so it's important to look.
High blood sugar makes infections more likely. A simple blister can turn into a serious problem in a matter of days.
Having problems seeing? Use a mirror, or ask a family member or friend to give your feet a daily once-over. Call your doctor immediately if you spot redness, cuts, blisters, or swelling.
Stay in shape. Your body uses insulin better when you exercise. Any activity that raises your heart rate enough to make it slightly hard to talk counts -- like brisk walking, taking the stairs, or maybe vacuuming.
You may lose weight, too. And if you shed just 5% to 10% of your body weight, that can help improve your blood sugar control.
See clearly. Make an annual appointment for a dilated-eye exam with an ophthalmologist or an optometrist experienced in treating people with diabetes. The doctor can look for diseases such as retinopathy, one of the most common complications of diabetes.