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Managing Your Diabetes

Here are some tips to help you manage diabetes and avoid the serious complications related to your disease.

Lifestyle Tips for Diabetes Management

  • Eat a balanced diet. Seeing a dietitian every one to two years can be helpful if you have diabetes. They, along with your diabetes health care team, will help you plan a diet that is right for you.
  • Exercise at least three to four times a week for 20 to 40 minutes each session. Mix aerobic and moderate exercise. Resistance training is recommended for twice weekly sessions, unless your doctor advises against it. A regular exercise program can improve blood sugars, decrease the risk of heart disease, and help you lose weight. Talk to your health care provider before starting any exercise program; he or she may want to do a few tests first. If you have complications related to your diabetes like neuropathy or retinopathy, there are certain types of exercise that you should avoid. Tell your doctor what kind of exercise you want to do, so adjustments can be made to your medicine schedule or meal plan. Remember, it is important to check your sugars prior to and after exercise.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Discuss your weight with your doctor. Minimal weight loss can have a major positive effect on blood sugar control in the obese diabetic.
  • Limit alcohol to one drink per day for women and two for men. When drinking alcohol, make sure you drink along with food. Alcohol has calories, so drinking needs to be considered in a weight loss plan.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Keeping a regular schedule and getting enough sleep will help you keep your blood sugar levels in good control.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Manage stress as best you can. Consider a stress management workshop to help you learn better coping methods.
  • Practice good foot and skin care. Check your feet daily for calluses, cracks, or skin breakdown. If you notice redness, ulcerations, pus, or a foul smelling drainage from your feet or if you notice that any of the toes have turned black and cold, notify your doctor immediately. Also, tell your doctor if you have any swelling in your ankles or feet.
  • Report signs of infection to your doctor. If you have any signs of infection -- redness in areas of the skin, fevers, vomiting, etc., call your doctor or health care provider immediately.
  • Discuss sexual problems with your doctor.
  • Stay knowledgeable about diabetes. Continue learning about diabetes to maintain and improve your health. Attend a diabetes class or schedule visits with your diabetes educator at least once a year.

Medication Guidelines for Diabetes

  • Follow a medicine schedule as prescribed by your diabetes health care provider.
  • Know your medicines. Know the medicines (brand and generic names) you are taking and how they work. Keep a list of your medicines with you at all times. When traveling, make sure to bring enough medicine and supplies with you on your trip. Keep medicines, syringes, and blood sugar testing supplies in your carry-on bag. Do not check these supplies in case your luggage is lost. Bring copies of your prescriptions and consider getting a medical alert bracelet.

WebMD Medical Reference

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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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