In last week’s article, we reported on diabetes statistics and risk factors. In continuation with National Diabetes Month, here are some tips for living with diabetes.
Maintaining diabetes is a balancing act—food, activity, medicine, and blood sugar levels—but it can be done.
- Follow a healthy eating plan, including eating more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and salt. Keep it fresh by shopping the outside aisles of the grocery store for fruits, veggies, lean meat, and dairy.
- Get physically active —10 to 20 minutes a day is better than only an hour once a week.
- Take diabetes medicine as prescribed.
- Test blood sugar regularly to understand and track how food, activity, and medicine affect blood sugar levels.
- Learning how to take care of diabetes starts with the diagnoses, but it doesn’t stop there. Treatment plans may change with age and health status.
Know Your ABCs:
Work with your doctor to manage your diabetes ABCs, and keep a record of your numbers. Results will help determine if your treatment plan is working and you’re able to stay in your target range—for example, an A1C of 7% or less—or if adjustments need to be made. Staying on track will help lower risk of additional health problems.
A—the A1C test, which measures average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months.
B—blood pressure, the force of blood flow inside blood vessels.
C—cholesterol, a group of blood fats that affect the risk of heart attack or stroke.
S—stop smoking or don’t start.
Put Care on Your Calendar:
Every day – stay active, eat a healthy diet, and take medication if prescribed; check feet for redness, swelling, pain, or sores.
Each health care visit (at least 4 times a year) – blood pressure check; foot check.
Twice a year – A1C test; dental checkup.
Once a year – cholesterol test; kidney function test; podiatrist (foot doctor) and eye doctor visits; flu shot (and other vaccines as recommended by your doctor).
Living with diabetes has its ups and downs, but healthy lifestyle choices can give you more control over them. More control means fewer health problems down the road and a better quality of life now.