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4 methods for managing diabetes while living your best life

  • Category: Diabetes
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4 methods for managing diabetes while living your best life

If you have Type 2 diabetes, you know it can affect all parts of your body and life. Still, diabetes doesn’t have to get in the way of living. Being proactive about managing diabetes can help you live a long, healthy life you love. Here are four ways to get started.

1. Know your ABCs.

Having diabetes raises the risk of heart attack, kidney disease and stroke. Knowing your ABCs and taking them to heart may lower your risks.

  • A1C. An A1C test is a blood test different from daily blood glucose checks (also called blood sugar checks). Instead of your current blood glucose or blood sugar level, it shows your average over three months. This gives you and your diabetes care team a big-picture view of how well your care plan is working.
  • Blood pressure. Blood pressure measurements show how hard blood presses against blood vessel walls. Keeping blood pressure in a healthy range is one way to protect your heart health. Your healthcare provider will tell you what your goal should be and how often to check your blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally made in the liver. It’s also found in food made from animal products. Some cholesterol is necessary, but too much can clog arteries and cause serious health concerns. Your provider can let you know what your ideal numbers are.
  • Smoking. Smoking increases blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Quitting smoking will help you keep these numbers and your diabetes in check.

2. Stay physically active to manage diabetes.

Physical activity has several benefits, including helping control blood sugar levels. Regular exercise can also:

  • Aid in weight loss, if needed
  • Boost your mood
  • Control blood pressure
  • Help you maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve sleep
  • Keep cholesterol levels in a healthy range

Aim for 150 minutes of weekly activity, or just over 20 minutes daily. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, you could:

  • Dance the night away.
  • Enjoy a bike ride on the Lafitte Greenway.
  • Take a walk with a friend.
  • Use exercise bands at home.

Don’t forget, house and yard work count, too.

3. Plan colorful meals.

When you have diabetes, you need to watch what you eat and drink, but that doesn’t mean your diet needs to be bland. Try mixing and matching these tasty options:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lean meats
  • Low-fat cheese, milk and yogurt
  • Nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots and green beans
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains

To keep your blood sugar from spiking:

  • Eat at the same times each day.
  • Pick carbohydrates that are high in fiber and pair them with protein-rich foods.
  • Stick to low- or no-sugar drinks.

If you’re on a budget, canned and frozen fish, fruit and vegetables without added salt or sugar are great options for staying healthy and saving money.

4. Get in the groove with diabetes management.

Making diabetes management a part of your regular routine makes staying on top of your health easy. As a part of your daily routine:

  • Brush and floss your teeth.
  • Check your blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and take your medicines as instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • Do a foot check to look for blisters, cuts, irritation, sores and swelling.

At least twice a year:

  • Get an A1C test.
  • See your healthcare provider for a checkup.

Once a year, make sure to:

  • Check your cholesterol levels.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • See an eye doctor for a dilated eye exam.
  • Visit the dentist.

If you have concerns or questions between visits, you don’t need to wait to talk to your doctor. Your diabetes care team at LCMC Health is here to help with managing diabetes year-round.

Ready to take control of your health? Make an appointment with an LCMC Health diabetes care specialist.