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Key Steps in Diabetes Care

Living with diabetes means you need to take extra care to stay healthy. The good news is that even small changes in your lifestyle and habits can make a big difference in managing your blood sugar, staying healthy, and preventing complications.

Changes can be challenging. These steps help you manage diabetes, and make changes one step at a time. You can also create a customized action plan with HealthMedia® Care® for Diabetes.

Eat healthy

Diabetes can be prevented, delayed, or better managed by keeping a healthy weight. Changing your diet and eating habits can be very hard work, but even small changes can help.

  • If you have type 2 diabetes, get started on a healthy eating plan. One plan to consider is HealthMedia® Nourish®.
  • Counting carbohydrates is very important for people with diabetes. Learn what a carbohydrate is and how many you should be eating during the day when you eat snacks and meals.
  • Take a look at our diabetes health tools such as the plate format for eating, to help you eat right and keep your blood sugar at an even level.
  • If you’re overweight, losing even a small amount of weight (such as 7 to 15 pounds) can have significant health benefits, especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Use our body mass index calculator to determine your healthy range.
  • A well-balanced diet can help keep diabetes in check. Find out howsmart snacking and healthy eating can help you manage your diabetes.
  • If you need help, you can meet with a registered dietitian or health professional with special training in diabetes care to develop a meal plan that works for you.
  • If you enjoy dining out, review our tips on healthier eating in restaurants.
  • Watch what you drink.  Alcohol can change your blood sugar levels or may not mix well with your medications.  Talk with your doctor about how much is safe to drink.
  • The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of how high your blood sugar may rise after eating a specific carbohydrate food. Foods are ranked with a low, medium, or high glycemic index. It is best to use the glycemic index with another method such as carbohydrate counting to manage your blood sugar control.

Care for your mind

It’s normal to feel anxious or depressed when you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, but these feelings can keep you from managing your diabetes well.

There are many ways you can help yourself feel better. But if you’re still having problems with depression or anxiety, help is available — talk with your doctor right away.

Care for your body

  • If you smoke, get help quitting. Smoking increases your risk for diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, and premature death.
  • Get a flu shot. People with diabetes have a greater risk of complications from the flu, so be sure to get a flu shot every year to lower your chances of getting sick.
  • Have a sick-day plan. When you have diabetes, getting sick can affect your blood sugar. With a sick-day plan, you can keep your blood sugar under control.
  • Check your feet every day. Diabetes can lead to serious foot problems, even amputations. Look for any signs of redness, swelling, sores, cracks or breaks in the skin, or extreme dryness.
  • Stay active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. This can make a significant difference in your health and how you feel. Try to walk for at least half an hour each day.
  • If you’re planning to hit the road, find out how to travel safely if you have diabetes.

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