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Managing Diabetes

Diabetes can be managed in a variety of ways. The management of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes including nutritional and lifestyle modifications.

  • Type 1 diabetes management will always include the use of insulin due to the absence of insulin production.
  • Type 2 diabetes management can range from nutritional and lifestyle modifications, or a variety of oral medications and insulin, as needed. If blood sugar levels are kept within the recommended range, the risk decreases for many complications from diabetes.

Learning and consistently practicing healthy habits takes time. If you find it difficult to stay motivated to manage your diabetes, see if one of these approaches works well for you.

  • Focus on the positive.
    • Take credit for the things you do right. Remind yourself that everything you do to manage your diabetes makes a big difference in the quality of your life now and in the future.
    • Make a list of the benefits of managing your disease. Include things that are important to you, like having more energy or feeling more in control of your life.
  • Help yourself succeed.
    • Set short-term, healthy goals that you know you can reach. Celebrate success with nonfood rewards, such as clothing, a book or a movie night.
  • Get support.
    • Surround yourself with people who encourage and motivate you. This could be friends, family, an exercise buddy, or an organized diabetes support group.
    • Look for meetings or classes where you can learn more about diabetes or reinforce concepts that are already familiar to you.
    • Check out the calendar of our support group meetings and events for those with diabetes.
  • Keep in touch with your doctors. Let them know if you are having trouble with any area of your care or if something has changed that might mean your treatment needs to be adjusted. If needed, your provider can refer you to Diabetes Services to receive support from our registered dietitian nutritionist, registered nurse or our lifestyle change specialist. Medicare covers 10 hours of education during the first referral and two additional hours each year. Medicare also covers medical nutrition therapy visits for three hours annually as well as with a provider referral.
  • Keep the disease in perspective. Remember that diabetes is one part of your life, but it does not have to take over your life. You are in charge.
Regular check-ups

At routine office visits to your primary care physician, you might take time to talk about your successes and challenges with maintaining a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, and getting regular exercise. Regular checkups are also a good time to talk about:

  • How you're feeling emotionally.
  • Your blood sugar records.
  • Your medicines.
  • Managing diabetes when you are sick.
  • How to quit smoking and other lifestyle changes that can help you manage your diabetes.
  • Setting goals to improve your health and well-being.

During your annual physical, office staff may perform or refer you for the following routine testing:

  • Blood pressure test to measure the pressure of blood flow in the arteries. Controlling blood pressure can help prevent damage to nerves and blood vessels.
  • A1C test to indicate how consistent your blood sugar levels have been over time.
  • Complete eye exam to indicate if high blood sugar levels have caused damage to your eyes. This test is most often provided by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to find problems early, such as diabetic retinopathy. However, Parkview also offers eye screening for diabetic retinopathy.
  • A foot exam to find if you have experienced nerve damage that would make it difficult to notice injury or infection. The doctor checks for foot sores and whether any feeling has been lost.
  • Blood and urine tests to check for kidney problems, or elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Dental exam and cleaning in which your dentist checks for gum disease and tooth decay. People with high blood sugar are more likely to have these problems.
  • Hearing test to determine if high blood sugar has damaged the small blood vessels and nerves in the ear, causing hearing loss.
Three steps to problem solving
Diabetes and blood sugar levels

One of the most important skills to learn is how to manage your blood sugar level. This is true whether you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes.

Follow your doctor's instructions on the use of insulin or diabetes medicines, diet, and exercise. They will help you avoid blood sugar problems. You'll learn to recognize the symptoms and know if they're from high or low blood sugar levels. Then you can take the right steps to bring your blood sugar back to your target levels.

People who keep their blood sugar levels under control with diet, exercise, or oral diabetes medicines are less likely to have problems with high or low blood sugar levels. Do not drink alcohol if you have problems noticing the early signs of low blood sugar.

What is A1c?

The A1c test (or hemoglobin A1c or glycohemoglobin test) is a blood test that shows the average level of blood sugar (glucose) over the past 2 to 3 months. Most doctors think that this is the best way to check how well a person is managing their diabetes. The test may also be used to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes. This test may not be appropriate for everyone because many things can affect the life span of red blood cells, such as the second or third trimester of pregnancy, a recent blood loss or a blood transfusion, sickle cell disease, hemodialysis, or erythropoietin (ESA) medicine.

The A1c test result also can be used to find the estimated average glucose, or eAG. A1c and eAG show the same thing in two different ways. A1c is shown as a percentage, while eAG uses the same units (mg/dl) as a glucose meter.

Avoiding Complications

Strategies, tips and more for avoiding common complications from diabetes.

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Diabetes Nutrition

Basic carb counting strategies and more on managing diabetes through your diet.

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Diabetes and Exercise

Read how you can exercise safely with diabetes and how it can help manage the disease.

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