Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life in 2021
What is diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes– Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live.
- Type 2 diabetes– Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
- Gestational (jest-TAY-shun-al) diabetes– Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.
You are the one who manages your diabetes day by day. Talk to your doctor about how you can best care for your diabetes to stay healthy.
Why take care of your diabetes?
Taking care of yourself and your diabetes can help you feel good today and in the future. When your blood sugar (glucose) is close to normal, you are likely to:
- have more energy
- be less tired and thirsty
- need to pass urine less often
- heal better
- have fewer skin or bladder infections
You will also have less chance of having health problems caused by diabetes such as:
- heart attack or stroke
- eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or going blind
- pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet, also called nerve damage
- kidney problems that can cause your kidneys to stop working
- teeth and gum problems
Knowing your diabetes ABCs.
Talk to your health care team about how to manage your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. This can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.
A for the A1C test (A-one-C).
What is it?
The 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 do each day.
Why is it important?
You need to know your blood sugar levels over time. You don’t want those numbers to get too high. High levels of blood sugar can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.
What is the A1C goal?
The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.
B for Blood pressure.
What is it?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels.
Why is it important?
If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. It can cause a heart attack, stroke, and damage your kidneys and eyes.
What is the blood pressure goal?
The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.
C for Cholesterol (ko-LESS-tuh-ruhl).
What is it?
There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL.
LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. It can cause a heart attack or stroke.
HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels.
Learn how to live with diabetes.
It is common to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. You may know the steps you should take to stay healthy, but have trouble sticking with your plan over time. These tips below would be helpful.
Cope with your diabetes.
- Stress can raise your blood sugar. Learn ways to lower your stress. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, working on your hobby, or listening to your favorite music.
- 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.
- Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team.
- Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Eat foods with more fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
- Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
- Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
- When eating a meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, or chicken or turkey without the skin, and one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
- Set a goal to be more active most days of the week. Start slow by taking 10 minute walks, 3 times a day.
- Twice a week, work to increase your muscle strength. Use stretch bands, do yoga, heavy gardening (digging and planting with tools), or try push-ups.
- Stay at or get to a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
- Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises and keep a record of it.
Diabetes Care must haves
- Diabetes Accessories
- Glucose Monitors
- Test Strips
- Lancets and Lancing Devices
- Insulin Pump Supplies
- Diabetes Foot Care
- Diabetes Socks