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November Is Diabetes Awareness Month

By Andrea Gabrick
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Each issue, WebMD the Magazine's "Health Highlights" focuses on a national health theme for the month with expert tips, reader comments, and eye-catching factoids. November is Diabetes Awareness month. Follow these tips to stay at your peak!

1. Say "Om"

Learn to meditate to help reduce stress and improve your blood sugar levels.

2. Step Out

Exercise helps keep your weight and blood sugar under control, and just about everyone can do a brisk daily walk.

3. Eat Right

Follow your food plan. If you don't have one, ask your doctor about seeing a dietitian who specializes in diabetes.

4. Jet Set

Before you hit the road, get a checkup, pack extra meds, and plan your doses around time zone changes.

5. Hang 10

Drop 10% of your body weight through diet and exercise.

6. Trade Up

Swap saturated fats and refined sugar for healthy fats in nuts and sweet whole fruit.

7. See Clearly

Diabetes complications can cause vision loss or blindness. Schedule a full eye exam at least once a year.

8. Stand Up

You may not feel foot injuries, so check both feet daily for blisters, cuts, or sores.

9. Show Color

Pack your plate with a palette of greens, yellows, and reds -- like spinach, squash, and tomatoes.

10. Learn More

Visit WebMD's Diabetes Center for news, tips, a blood sugar tracker, and more.

Expert Tips on Living With Diabetes

Tips from Adrian Vella, MD, endocrinologist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

  • Use the web or your smartphone to help you manage what you eat. Online tools can help you keep track of your calorie consumption, aid in meal planning, and provide important nutrition information to help you make healthy choices.
  • Get a pedometer. People with diabetes need to exercise. For many of my patients, that means walking. Set a goal.

Tips from Deborah J. Wexler, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, and co-clinical director, Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Unit.

  • Diabetes can be discouraging. You may feel sad, anxious, or depressed for no apparent reason. Get support, and you will be better able to meet the challenges.
  • Portion control is key. Plate the amount of food you intend to eat, and don't go back for seconds.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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