Diabetes self-management is essential to feel good and ward off potential health issues. Keeping up with diabetes care requirements can become confusing. Consider these 5 simple diabetes commandments to live by for the best possible health.
- Constantly monitor your daily numbers. Test your blood sugar throughout the day at key times such as before and after meals and exercising .If you are unable to get adequate strips due to cost, vary the time of day to give you more relevant information. Also, use a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure levels. Report irregularities in your blood sugar or blood pressure to your treating physician right away. Make sure to ask your doctor about results on routine tests such as lipid profiles, hemoglobin A1C tests and micro-albuminuria urine tests.
- Exercise regularly to lose weight and keep blood sugars controlled. Exercising can improve your cardiovascular health and may reduce the possibility of becoming overweight or obese. Try to fit in at least a half hour of moderate exercise, 5 days a week. Mix up your routine to keep it interesting. Go walking, hiking or biking. Join a local gym or attend fitness classes at the community center such as yoga, Tai chi and aerobics. Participate in sports and play with your kids. Enlist a friend or neighbor to encourage you by walking together. Make it your responsibility to walk the dog every day. Take the stairs at work and park further away from the grocery store to add additional exercise to your day.
- Watch your food intake carefully. Stay away from sugary snacks, salty chips and processed foods. Choose whole foods and cook with five ingredients or less, when possible. Nibble on fresh fruits and vegetables. Select low-fat dairy items and shop for lean meats and fish. Eat small portions of whole grains and stay away from packaged, boxed or bagged foods. Count your carbohydrates and try to keep your body mass index between 20 and 25. Never skip meals, including breakfast. Eating meals and snacks as prescribed will reduce blood sugar fluctuations. Try to eat a small snack 30 minutes before bedtime. Choose water or herbal tea over soda and juice. Plan ahead for holidays or when you dine out so you know how to eat.
- Take medications as instructed and keep up with other medical care and treatment. Take insulin and medications according to the schedule and amounts prescribed by your doctor. Contact your doctor if you have a change in schedule. Maintain appointments with other key medical professionals such as a dentist, ophthalmologist, podiatrist, and dietitian and diabetes nurse educator. Usually these appointments should be made every six months to a year. Take care of your feet by washing and drying them daily, and moisturizing them while avoiding the areas between your toes. Wear comfortable shoes at all times. Stay away from open shoes or high heels. Put slippers on at home and wear water shoe at the beach or pool.
- Maintain a positive attitude at all times. Managing diabetes can be stressful and stress is bad for your health. Stay positive and proactive about your condition. Do ongoing research, talk to your doctor about new findings and take refresher classes on diabetes. Knowledge is power when it comes to diabetes. Work with a health care team and let people in your life know about diabetes so they can support your efforts. If you have feelings of depression or anxiety for more than a month, discuss them with a medical professional and consider talking to a counselor.
These 5 commandments can make it easier to manage your diabetes. A little information and planning can go a long way. When you know what you need to do, you can enjoy the best possible health every day.