5 Ways to Manage Diabetes

Although diabetes can lead to a host of health problems, you can prevent most complications by keeping your blood glucose levels under control, eating healthy, and being physically active, reports the Centers for Disease Control. What's more, diabetics should work with their health-care providers to keep their blood pressure in check. In addition to these guidelines, check out the following tips from the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland. For some people, these tips will require a few minor lifestyle changes, but it's a small sacrifice for those who value their health and well-being.

  • Beware carbo-loading.

    Diabetics know it's important to keep a minimum amount of sugar in their diet to regulate blood glucose, but many don't realize bread, pasta, cereal, and other carbohydrates are composed primarily of sugars. Be sure only about half of your daily calories are coming from carbs, since they're necessary for energy maintenance; however, too much will spike your blood sugar.
  • Plan your meals.

    Creating a plan that details which foods you'll consume during the day will help you stick to a proper diet and could keep you from absentmindedly munching. Also be sure to space your meals evenly throughout the day to provide substantial energy and appropriate glucose levels. And remember, you shouldn't skip meals—even if you're not hungry, nibble on something to maintain glucose.
  • Be active.

    More than just maintaining and managing your disease, regular exercise can lower cholesterol, help you lose weight, and improve your overall health. It's important to get at least 30 minutes a day, no matter how you want to do it. In addition, simple things like parking your car farther from a store entrance or taking the stairs instead of the elevator will help jump-start your energy levels and keep you active.
  • Take the tests.

    Diabetics should be consistently testing blood sugar levels, which they can do at home. In addition, for certain tests, trips to the doctor are essential. A hemoglobin test every three to six months will indicate how your glucose levels have been over the past three months; urine and creatinine tests will determine if your kidneys are functioning properly; a lipid profile will tell you the amount of fat in your blood and may help prevent heart disease; and an eye exam will verify that your eyes are in working order, as diabetes can cause blindness.
  • Watch your feet.

    Since diabetics often have foot problems, it's important to monitor your feet carefully. Wash your feet daily, but do not soak them, and never go barefoot—always wear shoes and socks to prevent cuts that could become infected. In addition, have your podiatrist remove corns or calluses, and inspect your feet daily to be sure there are no cuts, scrapes, or burns. If anything seems out of the ordinary, see a doctor immediately.