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Diabetes And You

Living Well with Diabetes

Written by Wellness Healthcare Partners

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease. When you have diabetes, there is too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. Over time, if it’s not controlled, diabetes can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and blindness. There is more than one type of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. People who are overweight are more likely to get type 2 diabetes. The food you eat turns into glucose. Your blood carries glucose to other parts of the body. Your body depends on glucose for energy. When you have diabetes, your body has trouble turning glucose into energy. Instead of being used by your body, the glucose builds up in your blood. The rest of your body is starved of energy.

Diabetes can’t be cured, but it can be controlled.

Take Action!

Take these steps to manage diabetes.

Eat healthy

Eating healthy foods can help you control your weight, lower your blood pressure, and lower your cholesterol. Tips to accomplish this include:

  • Choose foods low in fat and cholesterol Cut down on caloriesReduce the sodium (salt) in your diet

See Health Finder's resource on Eating Healthy

Get active

Being physically active helps to manage the symptoms of diabetes. It is recommended to do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like walking fast or biking. You can also do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days that you do aerobic activity, whatever works best. Just keep in mind that muscle-strengthening activities don't count toward your aerobic activity total.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or the gym. You may want to try the following:

  • Lifting weights Working with resistance bands Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (i.e., push-ups, sit ups) Yoga
  • If you have a health condition, be as active as you can be and consult with your health care team to help develop an exercise routine that meets your needs.

See Health Finder's resource on Getting Active

Tips to Help You Stay Healthy

  1. Try keeping a diary to write down:
    • Your weight
    • Your daily blood sugar level
    • All the meals and snacks you eat each day
    • Number of calories and grams of fat in your food
    • Minutes of physical activity you do today
  2. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly
  3. Do not smoke or use tobacco.
  4. Plan ahead for safe travel. Keep your diabetes medicines and supplies with you.
  5. Take care of your feet. Wash them, trim toenails, and check for signs of injury or infection. Use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet and between your toes. Ask for help if you are unable to trim your toenails.
  6. Brush and floss your teeth.
  7. Follow your diabetes meal plan. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you need assistance.
  8. Take your diabetes medicines as prescribed.

See Health Finder's resource on Staying Healthy

Call your nurse or doctor when

  • You are sick.
  • Your blood sugar is very high or very low.
  • You have a sore or wound that does not heal or is infected.
  • You have frequent low blood sugar reactions or you pass out.