Many people avoid the long-term problems of diabetes by taking good care of themselves. Work with your health care team to reach your goals:
- Use your diabetes meal plan. If you do not have one, ask your health care team about one.
- Make healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, chicken or turkey without the skin, dry peas or beans, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
- Keep fish and lean meat and poultry portion to about 3 ounces (or the size of a deck of cards). Bake, broil, or grill it.
- Eat foods that have less fat and salt.
- Eat foods with more fiber such as whole grains cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
- Get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Brisk walking is a great way to move more.
- Stay at a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
- 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.
- Learn to cope with stress. Stress can raise your blood glucose (blood sugar). While it is hard to remove stress from your life, you can learn to handle it.
- Stop smoking. Ask for help to quit.
- Take medicines even when you feel good. Ask your doctor if you need aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Tell your doctor if you cannot afford your medicines or if you have any side effects.
- Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling. Call your health care team right away about any sores that do not go away.
- Brush your teeth and floss every day to avoid problems with your mouth, teeth, or gums
- Check your blood glucose (blood sugar). You may want to test it one or more times a day. Use the card at the back of this booklet to keep a record of your blood glucose numbers. Be sure to take this record to your doctor visits.
- Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises.
- Report any changes in your eyesight to your doctor.
Actions you could take:
- Talk with your health care team about your blood glucose targets. Ask how and when to test your blood glucose and how to use the results to manage your diabetes.
- Discuss how your self-care plan is working for you each time you visit your health care team.