A new year represents a fresh start for all of us. It is a great time to start the year off on the right foot. January 1st is a date to think of all the things we could improve and begin to implement them. However, after a few months, if that long, reality sets in and we are back to our old habits. With diabetes, not following through on good self care can result in potentially harmful health complications. Now is the time to make a commitment to your health today and for the next 360 days, and beyond. I recommend these essential and easy-to-keep steps for all-year-round care.
- Carry glucose tablets or some type of sugar to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) at all times!
- Have a blood sugar monitor. Even if you don’t test as often as you’d like, there may be times you are curious if how you’re feeling is related to your glucose, or how a particular meal affected you.
- Check your feet daily. Diabetes is the number one cause of foot amputations, other than accidents. Checking your feet is really easy to do and will protect you from missing an infection or wound that can become a major health issue.
- Exercise or increase your activity level – with your doctor’s approval.
- Think before you eat! Food has a major impact on your diabetes, your health and your life!
- Don’t smoke! It will further hinder your circulation, potentially leading to foot and leg issues.
- Visit your health care team regularly as recommended by them – physicians, diabetes educators, nurses, dietitians, dentists, psychologists, etc.
- Attend support groups to learn and keep up with the latest diabetes health and management information available.
- Keep your stress levels low. Meditation, deep breathing exercises or other stress relievers (favorite activities, hobbies) to keep calm in your life.
- Ask questions! Be your best health advocate. If this is a challenge for you, ask a friend or family member to help you take charge of your health care. Inquire about the medication you take. Understand how it works. Ask if there are other choices that may enhance your individual lifestyle.
- Know your numbers: A1c, cholesterol/triglycerides, blood pressure – it’s your life, after all!
- Enjoy your year, healthfully and happily!
NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.