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Managing your diabetes can help you live a long healthy life by taking care of yourself daily. This can impact every part of your body, so it is essential to work with your healthcare team to create a plan to manage your diabetes and create a self-care plan. It is important to understand to control your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol:

  • A1C is a test that provides your average blood glucose level over a three month period. A common goal for people living with diabetes is below 7. This is different from the blood sugar test you would perform daily.
  • Blood pressure is the force of blood against the blood vessel walls. High blood pressure causes your heart to work too hard. The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is 140/90. Speak with your primary care physician to know your goal.
  • Cholesterol can build up over time and clog blood vessels. We have two types of cholesterol in our blood: LDL and HDL, LDL is the bad cholesterol.

Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1.
    Type 1 diabetes is when your body neglects to produce its own insulin. Insulin is needed to break down the sugar (glucose) from the foods you consume and convert it to energy. With this type of diabetes, you will need to take insulin every day. It is believed genes is the cause for this type of diabetes or other factors such as viruses.
  • Type 2.
    Type 2 diabetes is when your body can not use or make insulin properly. This type of diabetes can require you to take insulin or pills to manage the condition. This is the most common type of diabetes. Many different factors can be the cause of this most common type of diabetes: Obesity and Physical Inactivity, insulin resistance, and genes.
  • Gestational Diabetes.
    This type of diabetes can occur in some women during pregnancy. This will go away after giving birth in most cases, but still leaves you and your child at higher risk for diabetes later in life. During pregnancy your placenta produces hormones that can contribute to insulin resistance. Most women’s bodies will compensate and produce enough insulin. In some cases, the pancreas does not produce enough to compensate.

I Have Prediabetes

1 in 3 Americans are told they have prediabetes. This happens when your blood sugar levels are raised but not extreme enough to be classified as diabetes. It can also be called impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance., or “borderline diabetes”

Follow these preventative steps as recommended by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digested and Kidney Diseases.

  1. Setting Weight Loss Goals.
    Your goal should be to lose at least 5 percent of your body weight within 6 months. 1 to 2 lbs a week is a good starting short-term goal.
  2. Healthy Eating.
    Four key steps to a healthy eating and weight loss plan are:
    1. Cutting your current portions of high calorie, high fat, and high sugar items.
    2. Replacing your less healthy choices with healthier items.
    3. Read food labels and select items with less trans fat, saturated fat, and added sugars.
    4. Replace sugary beverages with water
  3. Get Active.
    Being physically active will help burn calories which can help with your weight loss goals. Even if you do not lose weight from being active it is still able to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Some tips to get started:
    • Start slowly
    • Try to sit less
    • Move at work
    • Count your steps
    • Stretch
    • Have fun
  4. Keep Track.
    It is proven that when people keep track of their activities and food intake they are more likely to succeed. Keep a journal of your types of activities and time spent. Create a food journal to track your meals and calories taken in. Try this printable tracker provided by National Institute of Diabetes and Digested and Kidney Diseases.

Living Healthier with Diabetes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is critical to managing Diabetes and normalizing your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Being overweight or obese makes managing the disease quite difficult.

  • Losing Weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can make your diabetes management much easier. You don’t even have to lose a lot of weight to start seeing results. Just 10 to 15 pounds can make a difference.
  • Eating Healthier. Living with prediabetes or diabetes means you have additional food considerations, especially limiting simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs are found in foods like table sugar, soda, candy, and jellies. Consuming simple carbs will cause an increase in blood glucose.
  • Stay Active. Being active is another part of living healthy and can have incredible benefits in controlling both your weight and the disease while minimizing other negative health consequences. Any type of physical activity will help lower your blood glucose.
  • Eliminate Stress. Stress affects people in different ways. It can trigger a variety of unhealthy responses from overeating to drinking excessive alcohol or smoking, and from procrastination to overextending yourself. While you cannot completely avoid stress in your life, there are ways to deal with it in a healthy way.