If you have diabetes, you're not alone. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don't even know it.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and amputation.
But the good news is that diabetes can be managed.
Here are 10 tips for doing just that...
1)) Get Tested
If you think you might have diabetes, get tested as soon as possible.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or delay complications from diabetes.
2)) Know Your Numbers
Once you've been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to keep track of your blood sugar levels.
Aim for a target level of 70-130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after eating.
3)) Eat Healthy Foods
A healthy diet is important for everyone, but if you have diabetes, it's especially important to eat foods that will help control your blood sugar levels.
That means lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein.
Avoid sugary drinks and foods high in fat and calories.
4)) Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps your body use insulin more effectively and can lower your blood sugar levels.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
5)) Take Your Medication as Prescribed
If you have diabetes, you'll likely need medication to help control your blood sugar levels.
Be sure to take your medication as prescribed and never skip a dose.
6)) Monitor Your Feet Daily
Diabetes can cause nerve damage and decrease blood flow to your feet, which can lead to serious infections or ulcers.
To help prevent these problems, inspect your feet every day and look for any cuts, bruises, blisters, or red spots.
7)) See Your Doctor Regularly
It's important to see your primary care physician or a provider who specializes in diabetes at least once a year—more often if you have complications from diabetes such as heart disease or kidney disease.
8)) Quit Smoking
Smoking increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other complications from diabetes—so if you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health.
9)) Control Your Stress Levels
If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your stress levels under control.
When you’re stressed, your blood sugar levels can go up or down, sometimes dangerously so.
In addition, stress can make it harder to manage your diabetes and lead to other health problems.
10)) Know the Signs of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) can happen suddenly and without warning.
Signs include feeling shaky, sweating, a fast heartbeat, hunger, headache, confusion, irritability, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
If you experience any of these symptoms, test your blood sugar level immediately and follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider on how to treat low blood sugar levels.
Managing diabetes takes work but it's worth it because by keeping your blood sugar levels under control you can prevent or delay serious complications from the disease.
Bonus Tip: Seek Support from Others
Managing diabetes can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Ask friends or family members for help with grocery shopping or meal preparation and investigate support groups for people with diabetes near you.
If you have diabetes, remember that you’re not alone, more than 30 million Americans are living with the condition.
While there is no cure for diabetes...
By eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, taking medications as prescribed, monitoring your blood sugar levels, coping with stress in healthy ways, and seeking support from others, you can better manage your diabetes and enjoy a full life.