Managing the Risks of Diabetes

 

Living with diabetes can be a challenge. However, learning about diabetes is the first step toward living a longer, healthier life. Here are 4 steps to help you in your fight against diabetes:

Step 1: Learn About Diabetes

Diabetes means that your blood sugar is too high. There are two main types of diabetes: 

  • Type 1 – Thought of as the autoimmune version of diabetes, where your body stops making the insulin needed to take the sugar from the food you eat and turn it into energy for your body. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin for the remainder of your life because your body is not making it any longer.
  • Type 2 – The majority of Americans have this form of diabetes. Here, the body is not making enough insulin and/or your body doesn’t recognize, or isn’t sensitive to the insulin that you do make. Many times, diet and exercise can generate weight loss. In many cases, this can help to manage diabetes and almost stop it in its tracks. Oral medications are likely prescribed but they can potentially be cut down or sometimes discontinued if blood sugar control is achieved. 

Step 2: Know Your Diabetes ABCs 

Talk to your doctor about how to manage your HgbA1C, Blood pressure and Cholesterol. This can help lower your chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes related problems. 

A for the A1C test: (A-one-C) 

  • A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It is different from the blood sugar checks you might do each day. 
  • The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7. Ask your doctor what your goal should be. 

B for Blood pressure

  • If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. 
  • Your blood pressure goal should be below 140/90 unless your doctor helps you set a different goal. 

C for Cholesterol 

  • There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels. 

Step 3: Learn How to Live Well With Diabetes

Cope Well With Your Diabetes

  • Stress can raise your blood sugar. You can lower stress by practicing deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, or working on your hobby.
  • Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.

Eat Well

Consider using the “Plate Method”. When eating a meal, fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, chicken, or turkey without skin, and one-quarter with a whole grain. A well-balanced diet can reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control.

Know What To Do Every Day 

  • Take your medication, even when you feel well. Tell your doctor if you cannot afford your medicine or if you experience any side effects. 
  • Follow the meal plan recommended by your doctor or registered dietitian.
  • Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling. Call your doctor right away about any sores. 
  • Brush your teeth and floss every day to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy. 
  • Keep track of your blood sugar and keep a record of your numbers if your healthcare provider says this is appropriate. 
  • Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises and keep a record of it. 
  • If you smoke, ask for help to quit. Call 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669).

Step 4: Get Routine Care 

  • Every 3 months, visit your primary care provider for regular office visits in order to complete your A1C test, blood pressure check, weight check and foot check.
  • Every 6 months, visit your dentist to complete your dental exam.
  • Every 12 months, visit your primary care provider for a full physical exam, cholesterol test, blood fast test, kidney test, dilated eye exam, flu shot and other recommended exams.

 

Healthy Tips for You!

Healthy Tip #1

Check your blood sugar at least twice a day. Track your progress and note how food and activity affect your levels. 

Healthy Tip #2

Exercise regularly. This will help you maintain a healthy weight, control your blood pressure, and manage your cholesterol.

Healthy Tip #3

Try the plate method. Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies, one-quarter with a lean protein, and one-quarter with a whole grain.

 

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