Top 10 Tips to Control Diabetes

The following are helpful tips to help you stay in control of managing diabetes.

1. It's not about your diabetes — It's about your life

Ask yourself:

  • What do I love to do?
  • What things about diabetes keep me from doing it?
  • What are some solutions?
  • How can making an action plan help?

2. It's not just about blood sugar

Heart disease and stroke are the big killers for people with diabetes. Here's how to lower your chances:

  • If you use tobacco, quit.
  • Keep your blood pressure at or below 129/79.
  • Consider taking a statin drug.
  • Ask your doctor about ACE-inhibitors.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether a daily aspirin is right for you.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices.

3. Stress makes everything worse

Stress can get in the way of taking care of yourself and managing your diabetes.

  • Find out what's causing stress in your life.
  • Learn ways to reduce or cope with daily stressors.
  • Schedule something fun for yourself on a regular basis.

4. Exercise makes everything better

Exercise is good for everybody. It gives you more energy, reduces stress, helps you relax, and makes it easier to fall asleep.

  • Work towards doing at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Make it fun, not a chore.
  • Try a pedometer.

5. Don't diet — Make healthier food choices

Find a healthier way of eating that you can stick with for life.

  • Instead of thinking about food as either "good" or "bad," think about which foods support good health.
  • Eat a variety of foods to make sure you're getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
  • Talk to your dietitian to find a meal plan that works for you.

6. Be smart and use your "flashlight"

Your blood sugar monitor helps you see in the dark, like a flashlight. Test your blood sugar to get information you can use, for example:

  • When you first wake up in the morning.
  • Before or after meals.
  • Before, during, and after exercising.
  • Whenever you feel "odd."

7. Get regular checkups

Keeping regular appointments with your doctor and getting tests and screenings on time, helps you be an active partner with your health care team.

  • Know what questions to ask.
  • Write them down ahead of time.
  • Let your doctor know at the beginning of each visit what specific things you want to talk about.

8. Make sure you're not depressed

It's often hard for people to know when they're depressed. Here are some common signs:

  • Feeling down, blue, hopeless, sad, or irritable
  • Not enjoying activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Feeling as though you're letting other people down
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Tired all the time, no energy
  • No interest in food
  • Overeating
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Feeling like life isn't worth living

9. Write down your care plan

Work with your doctor to design a diabetes care plan that's right for you. Be sure to include:

  • What drugs you're taking and why you're taking them.
  • Your daily targets for the numbers you can control.
  • The goals you want to achieve.
  • Who you should call and when.

10. Join a group

Groups work magic!

  • A problem shared is a problem solved.
  • You'll be amazed at how much you have to offer others.
  • Check out the Living Well With Diabetes workshops.

Clinical review by David McCulloch, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 03/01/2014
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