The American Association of Diabetes Educators at www.diabeteseducator.org lists the 7 top self-care tips for managing diabetes in order to lead healthy active lives:
1. Healthy Diet: overall balance of all nutrients. Space meals evenly in order to not consume too much food at one time nor go for long periods without food.
2. Being Active: inactivity leads to insulin resistance. But, being physically active helps utilize food. Do aerobic exercises to help burn calories and anaerobic exercises to build muscle helps skeletal strength, more flexibility and use calories.
3. Monitoring: diabetes is a 24-7 disease. Patients need to make adjustments in what they do during the day depending of their level of blood glucose. If they are not monitoring their blood glucose they have no idea what the effect the meal they just ate may have on their blood glucose or how their medication is working to control blood glucose.
4. Medications: take medications as needed and properly, on time, consistently to keep blood glucose at a proper level.
5. Problem Solving: how to deal with hypoglycemia and ability to recognize signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. To properly treat low blood sugar take 15 grams of a carbohydrate source and check blood sugar before and after.
6. Reducing Risks: greatest risk for people with diabetes is smoking. Stop or reduce smoking as much as possible. Also, having constant and scheduled contact with health care provider: health with appropriate labs and feet checked, vision, dental.
7. Healthy Coping: greater incidence of depression. Unclear whether precedes or occurs after diabetes diagnosis. Important to recognize that this is normal. Often occurs because of the daily regimen and wears on people.
The American Association of Diabetes Educators caution that people with diabetes shouldn't feel that they need to do all 7 steps right away or perfectly. Instead choose those steps that you know you can be successful at and build from there.