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Manage your Diabetes for life

Why take care of your diabetes?

Taking care of yourself and your diabetes can help you feel good today and in the future. When your blood sugar (glucose) is close to normal, you are likely to:

v have more energy

v be less tired and thirsty
v need to pass urine less often
v heal better

v have fewer skin or bladder infections
You will also have less chance of having health problems caused by diabetes such as:
v heart attack or stroke
v eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or going blind
v pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet, also called nerve damage
v kidney problems that can cause your kidneys to stop working
v teeth and gum problems

Talk to your health care team about how to manage your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. This can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.

The A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It is different from the blood sugar checks you do each day.

You need to know your blood sugar levels over time. You don want those numbers to get too high. High levels of blood sugar can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.

The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.

Learn how to live with diabetes: It is common to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. You may know the steps you should take to stay healthy.

Cope with your diabetes:
v Stress can raise your blood sugar. Learn ways to lower your stress. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, working on your hobby, or listening to your favorite music.
v Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.

Eat well:

v Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team.
v Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, Trans fat, sugar, and salt.
v Eat foods with more fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
v Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
v Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
v When eating a meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, or chicken or turkey without the skin, and one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
Be active:
v Set a goal to be more active most days of the week. Start slow by taking 10 minute walks, 3 times a day.
v Twice a week, work to increase your muscle strength. Use stretch bands, do yoga, heavy gardening (digging and planting with tools), or try push-ups.
v Stay at or get to a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
Know what to do every day:
v Take your medicines for diabetes and any other health problems even when you feel good. Ask your doctor if you need aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Tell your doctor if you cannot afford your medicines or if you have any side effects.
v Keep track of your blood sugar. You may want to check it one or more times a day. Use the card at the back of this booklet to keep a record of your blood sugar numbers. Be sure to talk about it with your health care team.
v Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises and keep a record of it.