Living with diabetes may be challenging, but with the right knowledge and tools, it’s possible to not only manage the condition but also thrive. In this care guide for diabetics, we’ll cover important topics that you’ll need to know about diabetes management to help you live a happy and fulfilling life.
Diabetes Management: Getting Started
The most important way to start your diabetes management plan is to establish a relationship with your healthcare team. Your healthcare provider will need to closely monitor your diabetes and make a plan that is specific to you. Learning from your healthcare team and understanding what diabetes is and how it affects your body will also help with management. Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test that measures your average glucose (blood sugar) levels over the past 3 months. This gives your provider a way to see if your diabetes care plan needs adjusting. It’s important to bring your home glucose readings to your appointments as well. If you are on medications, it’s vital to take them as prescribed.
Diabetes Lifestyle Management: Healthy Eating and Staying Active
One of the most important ways you can manage your diabetes is by living a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes lifestyle management may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s important to remember to set realistic goals. Every small change you make in your lifestyle can help improve your diabetes. It’s essential to understand that setbacks are okay and your healthcare provider will be there to support and guide you.
When it comes to your diet it’s easy to get caught up in fad diets. Focusing on good quality whole foods and limiting processed/packaged foods is a great place to start. When building a meal plan, increase the amount of plant-based meals you eat. Another great diet plan to follow is the “Mediterranean Diet” which focuses on whole foods with a big focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts, and low to moderate amounts of poultry and fish.
As for exercise, the ADA recommends a goal of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to help manage your diabetes. If this seems overwhelming at first, it’s important to start slow and build good habits. Find ways to exercise that you enjoy and can be integrated into your regular routine.
Along with diet and exercise it’s just as important to take care of your mental health. Having a great support system and finding ways to cope with stress is key. Reach out for help if you need it. Additionally, good quality sleep is a crucial foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Preventing Complications: How to Take Care of Diabetic Eyes and Feet
Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to complications involving your whole body, especially your eyes, kidneys, and feet. If you feel like your diabetes is not well-controlled it’s important to see an endocrinologist before you develop any complications. Make sure to see a provider regularly and stay up to date on regular blood tests to prevent complications.
Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss in people 18-64 years old. This can be prevented with an annual routine eye exam. It’s also important to learn how to take care of diabetic feet. With diabetes, you can also have nerve damage called neuropathy which can cause numbness and tingling and can make you prone to hidden wounds. Take time to inspect your feet daily for any cuts or wounds. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly every day. When trimming toenails make sure you cut straight across to avoid ingrown nails.
By taking control of your diabetes management with the right knowledge, tools and support, you can lead a healthy life. Schedule an appointment with us now so we can help you with your diabetes lifestyle management. To learn more about what seeing a diabetes specialist is like, click here.