What You Can Do to Help Yourself

What You Can Do to Help Yourself

Follow a meal plan that is planned for you with your healthcare team.

Look for recipes that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Experiment with recipes that include fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, chicken or turkey without the skin, dried peas or beans, and low-fat or nonfat milk and cheese. Other healthy ingredients are foods high in fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, and pasta.

Limit your portion sizes:

Use the plate method; make half your plate vegetables and fruit, one quarter of the plate a lean protein food, and one quarter of the plate a whole grain food.

Exercise safely every day:

Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, and take small steps until you can build up to at least 30 minutes most days of the week. A brisk walk is excellent exercise. Find ways to add in extra walking as you go about your daily activities.

Do not smoke cigarettes or use any tobacco products.

Tobacco, whether smoked or chewed, has a very bad effect on the entire body and can make diabetes complications worse. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you need help quitting. There are many programs to help you quit.

Take your medicines the way your healthcare provider asks you to.

Make sure that you are taking your medicines on time, without skipping them, which is very important to successfully manage your diabetes and its complications. If you can’t afford your medications, ask if you can switch to less expensive medicines.

Take care of your feet.

Check your feet every day to see if there are any cuts, sores, or other skin problems. Use a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet. Protect your feet by wearing comfortable shoes and socks, and avoid walking barefoot. Ask your healthcare provider to check your feet to see if you have nerve damage and should be taking especially good care of your feet.

Have your eyes checked regularly.

People with diabetes should see an eye care specialist, an ophthalmologist, at least once a year to check for damage to their retinas.

See your health professional.

Everyone with diabetes should see their primary health provider or diabetes doctor at least twice a year, and more often if you are not meeting your treatment goals. At these visits your healthcare provider may:


  • Ask you about your blood sugar levels
  • Check your blood pressure
  • Check the skin and feeling in your feet, sores, and blood circulation
  • Dilate your eyes
  • Send you to the laboratory for blood and urine tests to:
    • Make sure your kidneys are working well (every year)
    • Make sure your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are healthy (every year)
    • Check your A1C level to see how well your blood sugar is controlled (every 3-6 months)

source – http://www.nlm.nih.gov

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