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Managing Your Diabetes

Taking care of yourself and managing diabetes involves many behaviors or self-care activites. Self-care activites that impact diabetes are:

  • The way you eat.
  • How active you are.
  • How often you check your blood glucose.
  • How you take your medications.
  • How often you go to the doctor.

To better care for yourself and manage your diabetes, you may need to change some of these behaviors. Just learning about diabetes will not cause you to make changes. You will need to have the knowledge, skills, resources, support, and a positive attitude to make changes.

There are a number of goals you should set while adjusting to your new lifestyle.  Of these goals, setting healthy eating habits are extremely important.  Talking with your doctor and your diabetes team while monitoring your blood glucose levels will aid you in determining what meal plan is right for you. 

In order to more easily monitor your blood glucose levels you should eat a balanced diet based on your needs.  While a balanced diet benefits everyone, you should have your dietician determine the number of calories and types of foods your body needs.  Individuals with diabetes diet's consist of healthy food containing protein/meats, low fat, and consistent amounts of carbohydrates served in proper portions.

For a list of balanced food groups, click here.

Exercise

Coupled with a proper diet is adequate exercise; and always remember, some exercise is better than no exercise.   If you are unable to do the usual exercise program because of physical problems, you can do simple activities such as:

  • Walking in the house or in the mall.
  • Getting up to turn the TV channel rather than using the remote control.
  • Parking the car farther away and walking more.
  • Using steps instead of an elevator
  • Arm or leg exercises while sitting in a chair.

Be sure to consult your physician if you are looking to start a new exercise regime, and remember to monitor your blood glucose just before and after exercise to learn how you react to the exercise session.  You may need to eat a snack before you exercise based on your blood glucose reading.

For a description of exercise snack guidelines, click here.

Standards of Care

On top of monitoring your nutrition and eating a balanced diet, individuals with diabetes must maintain a base level of standards of care for their body.  To view a list of the standards of care, please click here.

Utilizing an A1C blood test may help you better understand your risk for diabetes and any the likelihood of further developing other health complications from diabetes.  An A1C blood test measures blood glucose control over the past 90 days. The closer your A1C is to that of people who do not have diabetes, the lesser the chance you have of damage to your heart, eyes, kidneys, and blood vessels.  A1C should be tested every three to six months, depending on the level of blood glucose control. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that A1C be less than 7% for most adults.  The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) recommends an A1C of 6.5% or less.

Failure to sustain proper blood glucose levels may lead to long-term health complications. 

For a better understanding of  how to prevent long-term diabetes complications, click here.