People with diabetes can live active, satisfying lives every day. Knowing how to manage diabetes and adopt positive lifestyle habits makes a big difference.

Discover 10 ways to live well with diabetes.

  1. Spend 10 minutes soaking up the fresh air, sunshine and Vitamin D each day. As people get older, many become deficient in vitamin D which is linked with metabolic syndrome. Before you sit out in the sun apply sunscreen with SPF15 or higher. You can also wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes while you get that essential Vitamin D. If the sun is not an option consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Check what dosage your physician recommends.
  2. Always be aware of your blood sugar levels. Try to check your blood sugar before and after eating as well as after physical activities. Be aware of how your body reacts to various foods and situations so you can plan accordingly. Talk to your doctor about blood sugar control and report extreme highs or lows to your health care team immediately.
  3. Be aware of unhealthy lifestyle choices and age-related diseases. Get a complete physical exam at least once a year and ask about preventative screenings. Have your eyes and feet checked frequently to ward off complications. Keep your dental cleanings every 6 months.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, and quit smoking. Healthy habits can keep diabetes in check and ward off health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and more. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats and fish. Ward off the temptation to use sugar in your coffee or tea. Try serving it with brown sugar substitute which is a good alternative. Talk to your doctor about a suitable exercise regime.
  5. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can also help protect your heart. People with diabetes are more likely to get heart disease, the number one killer in the United States. Control and monitor your blood pressure and watch your cholesterol to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Stay away from foods with excessive saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  6. Eat regularly to avoid dangerous blood sugar highs or lows. Avoid eating one or two big meals each day. Instead have smaller, more frequent meals and snacks throughout the day. This can help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Take medications and insulin on the schedule recommended by your diabetes health care team.
  7. Take advantage of ongoing educational opportunities. Discuss diabetes updates during your routine medical examinations. Go online to find the latest research and scientific information about diabetes. If you hear news that may apply to you, ask your doctor about it.
  8. Diabetes and depression may go hand-in-hand. If you are struggling with depression and mood swings, get help. Reducing the symptoms of depression can help you stay on top of your diabetes self-management plan for optimum well-being.
  9. Prevent sores, especially on your feet. People with diabetic neuropathy might not feel sores on their feet. Inspect your feet each day for cuts, sores, blisters, temperature changes, swelling and irregularities. If you have problems report them to your doctor right away. Always wear comfortable shoes and diabetic socks. If you go to the beach or pool wear water shoes. Make sure to wear slippers at home.
  10. Let people know you have diabetes and get their support. Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace in case of emergencies. Encourage your family and friends to learn more about diabetes so they know what to do in an emergency.

Living with diabetes is easier when you know the facts and have a consistent self-management plan. Share your concerns with your doctors and support network. Be aware of your health at all times to keep symptoms and related conditions at bay.