Updated Oct. 30, 2008 – Managing diabetes may make you feel like you're locked in a box or that you have to live a restrictive lifestyle. Don't eat this. Don't eat that. In a positive twist, here are 12 things you can do to live healthier.
1. Do review your treatment plan with your doctor or health care provider at least once a year! Make changes if your plan is not working well.
2. Do work with a dietitian! Create a meal plan that gives you healthy choices that are just right for you. Want more choices? Check the American Diabetes Association for cookbooks and a recipe-a-day.
3. Do have a snack when you're hungry! Choose something healthy that fits into your overall meal plan. Want some ideas? Check here.
4. Do ask your health care provider for an A1C test! A1C, which used to be called hemoglobin A1C, is the best test to know if your blood glucose (sugar) is under control. Here's more information on hidden sugars that may be in your soft drinks.
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5. Do control the ABCs of diabetes: A1C for blood glucose, B for blood pressure and C for cholesterol. That's the key to reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Nearly 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart attack or stroke. Here are some tools to help you beat those odds.
6. Do ask your doctor about aspirin therapy! This is another important step to reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Want more tips on how to protect your heart? Check here.
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7. Do turn your living room into a dance floor! Turn up the beats, get some exercise and burn those calories.
8. Do walk whenever you have the chance! Get off the bus or subway a few stops early or park at the far end of the lot. Want more info on how to start a walking program? Check here.
9. Do avoid smoking! If necessary, ask your doctor or nurse about ways to quit.
10. Do have your feet, eyes and kidneys checked at least once a year! Regular check-ups help to find problems early, when they can be treated and managed well.
11. Do see your dentist twice a year! Make sure he or she knows you have diabetes. Team up against gum disease.
12. Do talk with family and friends about managing your diabetes! Be an inspiration with your healthy lifestyle. Not sure what the disease really is or what it does to you? Check here for some basic facts about diabetes.
Learn more about diabetes! For more information on diabetes care call the National Diabetes Education Program at 1-800-438-5383 or visit the NDEP Web site at www.ndep.nih.gov.