If you missed part one – click here
Step 3: Gather More Questions
Next, spend some time looking at online resources, and reaching out to friends and family, especially if you know someone with diabetes. You’ll then have good questions to ask your healthcare providers.
Know that in the months and years ahead, you will probably be dealing with a team of professionals, including your
- Primary care provider
- Nurse educator
- Eye Doctor
But to effectively manage your diabetes – no matter what your number or your family background or lifestyle or health history – you’ll need become your own best advocate, and stay actively involved in the process as you go along.
You can also call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) for general information.
Step 4: Get Ready to Watch Your Numbers
Living with diabetes means you’ll have to get into the habit of checking your blood glucose regularly and keeping a daily log.
A range of modern blood glucose meters are available; they have different features for different needs. Some meters can communicate directly with your computer, or you can keep track of your levels in a notebook.
Talk to your healthcare providers about which options might work best for you. But remember: A meter will only be effective if you know how to use it correctly, it’s easy enough to use every day, and you regularly record and understand what your results mean.
(You may also be testing for keytones in your urine, although this is more common with type 1 diabetes.
By watching your numbers, you’ll be able to see the effect that diet, exercise and stress have on your blood glucose levels. This will help you manage your diabetes.
Step 5: Make a Plan to Eat Right & Move More
Being a diabetic doesn’t always mean drastically changing everything you eat, or sacrificing the things you can’t live without. But it does mean taking a closer look at sugars and carbohydrates. You’ll want to start eating lots of different foods – including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, healthy fats, and lean meats or meat substitutes – but you’ll eat them all in moderation.
With your healthcare providers, you can work out a plan that’s flexible – you don’t have to eat the same thing every day – but one you can count on. To control your blood sugar, it’s best to schedule regular snacks and avoid skipping meals.
Physical activity is another important part of living healthy with diabetes. Moving more, no matter what you’re doing, will benefit your overall health and lower your blood glucose. But it’s aerobic exercise – like walking, swimming, dancing or using a treadmill – that will really improve your blood flow and help your insulin work better.
Talk to your doctor, particularly if weight is an issue, then set up an exercise routine that you can live with.