8 Ways to Manage Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, more the 25 million Americans are living with diabetes. Try these tips to help manage the condition and prevent the serious complications associated with the disease.

1. Follow a balanced diet. A low-fat eating plan with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help keep blood sugar at healthy levels. Carbohydrates have a bigger impact on blood sugar levels than protein or fat, so be consistent with carb intake. In addition, seeing a dietitian every one to two years can be helpful.

2. Be physically active. Exercise a minimum of three to four times a week for 20 to 40 minutes each session. A regular exercise program can improve blood sugar, decrease the risk of heart disease, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Blood sugar levels should be monitored before, during, and after exercise. As always, you should consult a healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.

3. Get plenty of z's. Sticking to a regular schedule and getting enough sleep can help keep blood glucose at healthy levels.

4. Kick the habit. Diabetic smokers should quit immediately. Medical professionals can advise on methods of smoking cessation.

5. Practice good foot care. Check your feet daily for calluses, cracks, or skin breakdown. If there's redness, ulcerations, pus, or foul-smelling drainage, or if any of your toes have turned black and cold, notify a doctor immediately. A doctor should also be informed if there is any swelling of the ankles or feet.

6. Manage stress. Consider a stress-management workshop to learn better coping methods. Utilize relaxation techniques, prioritize tasks, and set limits in order to reduce stress.

7. Take your medication. Be sure to follow the medicine schedule prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition, it may be helpful to keep a list of your medications on hand at all times.

8. Keep learning. Continue learning about diabetes through books and online research. Attend a diabetes class, or schedule visits with a diabetes educator at least once every year.