Step 1: Learn about diabetes.
There are three main types of diabetes:
• Type 1 diabetes – Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live.
• Type 2 diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
• Gestational (jest-TAY-shun-al) diabetes – Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.
Step 2: Know your diabetes ABCs.
Talk to your health care team about how to manage your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol.
This can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.
Step 3: Learn how to live with diabetes.
It is common to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. You may know the steps you should take to stay healthy, but have trouble sticking with your plan over time. This section has tips on how to cope with your diabetes, eat well, and be active.
Cope with your diabetes.
• Stress can raise your blood sugar. Learn ways to lower your stress. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, working on your hobby, or listening to your favorite music.
• Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.
• Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team.
• Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
• Eat foods with more fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
• Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
• Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
• Set a goal to be more active most days of the week. Start slow by taking 10 minute walks, 3 times a day.
• Twice a week, work to increase your muscle strength. Use stretch bands, do yoga, heavy gardening (digging and planting with tools), or try push-ups.
• Stay at or get to a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
Know what to do every day.
• Take your medicines for diabetes and any other health problems even when you feel good. Ask your doctor if you need aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Tell your doctor if you cannot afford your medicines or if you have any side effects.
• Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling. Call your health care team right away about any sores that do not go away.
• Brush your teeth and floss every day to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy.
• Stop smoking. Ask for help to quit. Call 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669).
• Keep track of your blood sugar. You may want to check it one or more times a day. Use the card at the back of this booklet to keep a record of your blood sugar numbers. Be sure to talk about it with your health care team.
• Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises and keep a record of it.
Talk to your health care team.
• Ask your doctor if you have any questions about your diabetes.
• Report any changes in your health.