Managing Diabetes: The Basic Skills


When you were little you learned how to walk, play and run. You didn't think about your health. But now that you have type 2 diabetes, you have to think about your health and learn a whole new set of basics.

"Barbara, the reason you're here today is because your doctor has said you have diabetes. What questions do you have about that?"

"I'm just terribly overwhelmed right now. I don't really know where to start."

"Well, you're in the right place."

Diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood. Having too much sugar in your blood is also called hyperglycemia, and can lead to: frequent urination, increased thirst, unusual tiredness, blurred vision, and cuts and sores or skin infections that are slow to heal. And over time, high blood sugar can lead to a higher risk of long-term health problems, like heart attack, stroke, vision loss, and amputation.

The good news is that with a few basic skills you can keep your blood sugar in a healthy range, and delay or prevent these health problems.These basic skills include making healthy food choices, getting physical activity, taking medications if necessary, and checking how much sugar is in your blood.

Members of your diabetes care team are there to help. Your doctor, nurse, diabetes educator, registered dietitian, pharmacist and others will help you manage the basic skills you need to control your sugar level.

Just think of it like this: Some of the things you do every day make your sugar go up. And some make your sugar go down.

If you eat a lot of unhealthy carbohydrates or too much food overall, your blood sugar will go up too high. Instead, choose a healthy carbohydrate meal in a healthy portion to keep your sugar in a healthy range.

Physical activity any physical activity - helps your blood sugar go down. So get active.

Medications also help your blood sugar go down, or keep it from going as high as it would if you didn't take any diabetes medications. Make sure you take all your medications how and when your doctor tells you to.

And because you don't want to guess at where your blood sugar is monitor. Check your sugar every day and get your A1C checked as often as your doctor tells you to.

Once you make each of these skills part of your day, you'll find that diabetes isn't as frightening as you may think it is now. And you'll find that you can learn to live with it.

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