If you have diabetes, it’s not difficult to stay healthy through proper monitoring and management. If you were recently diagnosed, first spend some time learning about diabetes itself. Then you’ll be able to make smart choices for your diabetes management.
If you are over the age of 45, it’s advised you receive an initial blood sugar screening. If the results are normal, you’ll need to be screened every three years. There are a few different tests that can be conducted to screen for diabetes:
- A1C Test: This is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests will indicate that you have diabetes.
- Blood sugar tests: Random blood sugar tests or fasting blood sugar tests can also be conducted if the A1C test is inconclusive, unavailable, or if you have conditions like an uncommon form of hemoglobin that can make the test inaccurate.
After the tests have been concluded and you are given a diabetes diagnosis, learn about the type of diabetes you have. Type 1 diabetes means that your body does not make insulin; your body needs insulin to turn the glucose from food you eat into energy. You will need to take insulin every day. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, means your body isn’t making or using insulin well. You will need medication or insulin to help control your diabetes.
You’ll need to check your blood glucose levels on a daily basis and keep a log of your results. This way, your health care provider will know how your body is reacting to your diabetes management care plan.
Along with checking and monitoring blood glucose levels, daily diabetes management will include eating a healthy diet and maintaining an exercise plan. Your diabetes meal plan should include foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt. A meal should contain a balance of lean proteins like turkey and chicken, whole grains like brown rice or wheat pasta, and vegetables. Drink lots of water instead of sugary juices and sodas. Daily exercise is also vital, and you can start slowly by just walking for ten minutes at a time, three times a day. Do strength training exercises with stretch bands or try yoga.
It’s important to monitor your health and stick to your diabetes management plan. Take your diabetes medications every day, even on the days you feel fine. Try to keep your stress level down, because stress can raise your blood sugar. If you’re struggling in any way with your diagnosis, you should talk to a mental health counselor or join a support group.
Remember to maintain routine care with your doctor. Make appointments at least twice a year to get your blood sugar, feet and weight checked, as well as review the care plan you’ve been utilizing so you know if it’s working properly for you.