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.