Getting Control Over Diabetes

 In Health Library

Why should I take better care of my diabetes?

By taking care of your diabetes, you can lower your chance of getting other serious medical problems.

If you have diabetes, it means your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or it doesn’t use insulin the right way. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in your blood instead of going to your cells to be used for energy. After a while, high blood sugar can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves. This damage can lead to serious health problems for you, such as heart disease and blindness.

If you control your blood sugar, you can prevent or delay these problems. You can choose a lifestyle that puts you in control of your diabetes. Your lifestyle choices will help you feel better now and be healthier in the future.

What can I do to control my diabetes?

To control diabetes, you must keep your blood sugar low. The right blood sugar level is different for everyone. You and your family doctor will decide what your blood sugar goal should be, based on your attitude to change, your age, your social and family situations, and your other health problems. To control your blood sugar you’ll need to do several or all of the following:

• Eat a wide variety of foods. Choose low-fat foods. Spread your calories throughout your day (eat

  several mini-meals rather than three large meals). A dietitian can help you.

• Exercise regularly. Choose your favorite exercise and do it three to four times a week. Just check

  with your doctor before you start any exercise program.

• Take your medicine (either pills or insulin shots) exactly as your doctor tells you. If you’re not able

  or not willing to do what’s been recommended, let your doctor know. Your doctor might be able to

  change your plan so it works for you.

• Check your blood sugar level at least once a day. It’s especially important to do this if you’re taking

  insulin shots. Knowing your blood sugar level can help you to balance food, exercise and medicine.

What else can I do to lower my chances of having health problems?

In addition to seeing your family doctor regularly, the following steps will help you to stay healthy:

• Brush your teeth and floss them every day. See your dentist two times a year.

• Keep your blood pressure low-below 130/85. Talk with your doctor about your blood pressure.

  Have it checked several times a year. You should be even more careful about blood pressure than

  people who don’t have diabetes.

• Lower your blood cholesterol if it’s high. Check with your doctor to see what your cholesterol level

  should be. Your doctor can help you bring a high level down.

• Don’t smoke. If you want to quit smoking, talk with your doctor about how to quit.

• Get a dilated eye exam from an eye doctor every year, or as often as your family doctor suggests.

• Ask your family doctor to check your feet at every office visit. Check your feet yourself every day.

  Wear shoes that fit well. It’s important to avoid sores on your feet.

This information is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available online from and Health Answers Education.

What can help me control my diabetes?

You can do several things to make it easier to control your diabetes. Along with your family doctor, the nurses, dietitians and other professionals, your family and your friends, you can choose a plan that works for you. Here are some steps that can help you:

• Learn more about diabetes. Your family doctor can help you find the other health professionals to

  be on your “team.” You might go to a patient education class. You might join a diabetes patient

  support group. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) can send you information, including the

  publication American Diabetes Association: Complete Guide to Diabetes (1996). If you join the

  ADA, you get a monthly magazine with helpful information, tips and stories about how other people

  cope with diabetes. Be sure to ask your doctor before you change your treatment.

• Tell your doctor what’s most important to you. A very important part of a good diabetes

  management plan is talking-plainly and often-with your doctor. Talk about what you think you can

  do and what you can’t do. You are more likely to reach your goals if you helped plan them.

• Lower your blood cholesterol if it’s high. Check with your doctor to see what your cholesterol level

  should be. Your doctor can help you bring a high level down.  Set specific goals. Plan specific ways

  to reach your goals. Start with making small changes in your daily life, like exercising every day.

  Lifestyle changes can be hard to make, so you should start with something small. Even a small

  success will make it easier for you to make other changes.

• Try to create a supportive environment for yourself. Get your family and your friends involved in

  your lifestyle changes. They will give you support in staying healthy. Your healthy lifestyle changes

  can be a chance for them to share a healthier lifestyle too. But remember, you’re in charge of

  what’s best for you. Your friends and family can’t do it for you. Sometimes coping with all you’re

  going through can feel like too much to your family and friends. A diabetes support group can give

  you the extra help and support you need. So can the doctors, nurses and dietitians on your health

  care team.

Where can I get more information about diabetes?

• Call-800-ADA-ORDER (1-800-232-6733) to learn more about American Diabetes Association


• Call-800-806-7801 to join the American Diabetes Association.

This information provides a general overview on taking control of diabetes and may not apply in each individual case. Consult your physician to determine whether this information can be applied to your personal situation and to obtain additional information.

Contact Us

Have a question? Please send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search