We have advice for both types of diabetes
Monitor blood sugar every day — by keeping your blood glucose levels within target range, you can reduce the risk of developing complications by at least 50%. Self-care is important—the decisions and choices you make every day are the biggest part of diabetes management. Regular exercise and healthy meal planning can reduce the need for blood glucose – lowering medications. Wear a medical ID bracelet—this will alert others that you have diabetes in case of an emergency.
We have answers to your diabetes questions
What is diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to use food as an energy source. This occurs when the pancreas fails to produce insulin, or the body does not properly use the insulin produced. Diabetes is a lifelong disease that affects nearly 23.6 million Americans, one quarter of whom are unaware that they have it.
What’s the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes?
- People with Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed before the age of 30. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections to live.
- Type 2 diabetes is more common, affecting 90-95% of those diagnosed with diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes may produce insulin, but it isn’t enough, or the body can’t use it effectively to lower blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is generally diagnosed after age 40, although there has been a recent increase in diagnosis of people in their 30s.
What should I be eating to stay healthy?
- Proper, practical meal planning offers true health benefits because it helps ensure that you are eating nutritious foods, it helps you achieve a desirable body weight, it helps maintain normal levels of triglycerides and it aids in preventing the occurrence of the complications of diabetes. Meal planning includes choosing the right foods, the right amounts of food and the right time of day to eat your meals.
- If the meal-planning goal is to lose weight, choose foods low in calories and fat. If the goal is to lower blood pressure, choose foods low in salt and fat. Work with your diabetes healthcare team to determine which meal planning approach will work best for you:
- Food guide pyramid
- Food exchange system
- Carbohydrate counting
- It is helpful to keep a food diary to monitor which foods may cause glucose levels to be too high or low.
- Eat after taking insulin or certain diabetes medications to prevent the risk of developing low blood glucose levels.
What is the best way to live well with diabetes?
- Take medication when prescribed- your diabetes healthcare team will advise you on what medication will be most effective in managing your diabetes, along with a healthy eating plan and an activity program.
- Set and maintain realistic weight goals- excess body fat alters your body’s response to insulin.
- Stay active- during exercise, your muscles use sugar for energy. This sugar comes from the blood stream, resulting in lower blood glucose levels. Exercise also causes your cells to allow insulin to work more efficiently in your body.
- Create a healthy meal plan- when making meal plan choices, it is important to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups so that you get the right amounts of vitamins and nutrients.
- Regularly monitor your blood glucose levels- maintaining tighter control of your blood glucose levels is directly related to significant, life-enhancing (even extending) benefits.
- Get a yearly physical exam- your doctor can perform yearly blood tests.
- Take care of your feet- diabetes can damage nerves in your feet and reduce blood flow; talk to your doctor about how to examine your feet.
- Don’t smoke- smokers with diabetes are three times more likely than non-smokers with diabetes to die of heart disease or stroke.
- Effectively manage stress- stress can lead to being rushed and not taking the time to effectively manage your diabetes.
- Check before taking OTC medications- ask your pharmacist about the right medications to take; sugar-free and alcohol-free medications are available for people with diabetes.
- Monitor your blood pressure- between 35-75% of all complications associated with diabetes can be attributed to high blood pressure.
- To learn more about diabetes click here.