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4 Steps to Managing Diabetes

4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes

Each year over a million Americans, ages 20 and up, are diagnosed with diabetes. People with diabetes have high levels of blood glucose. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and many other health problems.

1. Educate Yourself on Diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1– Your body doesn’t make insulin like it’s supposed to. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body.
  • Type 2– Your body doesn’t make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
  • Gestational– Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.

You are the one who manages your diabetes day by day. Talk to your doctor about how you can best care for your diabetes and stay healthy.

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2. Learn How to Live with Your Diabetes.

It’s common to get overwhelmed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. Although you may know the steps that you need to take to stay healthy, following through can get tricky sometimes. Here are some tips on how to cope with your diabetes.

  • Stress is a major factor! It can raise your blood sugar significantly. Learn ways to lower your stress.
  • It’s okay to ask for help! A mental health counselor, support group, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better. It’s okay to feel down sometimes, but don’t let yourself stay there.

3. Learn What to Manage and How.

If you have diabetes, you probably already have a blood glucose meter and know how to use it. Make sure that you’re prepared to take down the results to keep track of the information.

This information can help you and your doctor see how things like food and exercise can affect your blood glucose.

While it’s important to keep track of this information, it’s also important that you understand what different results mean. Low levels may mean you need something to eat, while levels that are too high may mean you need additional insulin.

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4. Build a Routine.

See your health care team at least twice a year to find and treat any problems early. Make sure that you have a list of things that need to be addressed during your visit. During your visit, ask your doctor any questions you may have and schedule out all tests that need to be conducted once or twice a year.

If you have Medicare, check to see how your plan covers diabetes care. Medicare covers some of the costs for:

  • diabetes education
  • diabetes supplies
  • diabetes medicine
  • visits with a dietitian
  • special shoes, if necessary