What You Can Do if You Have Diabetes
If you have been living with diabetes, you may feel you need help to control it. Be sure to work with your doctor or nurse to come up with a self-care plan to help prevent some of these problems.
Here are seven actions you can take to help manage your diabetes and stay healthy now:
- Work with your doctor on a plan to control your diabetes. Most people will need medication. But medication is only part of the picture. Ask your doctor if it would do you good to see a certified diabetes educator or dietitian and get the full picture.
- Have an A1C blood test four times a year unless your doctor tells you a twice-per-year schedule is fine. The A1C test is the best way to know if your diabetes is in control. Most of the time, a level below 7 percent is recommended. But some people may have a higher or lower target that your doctor can help you determine.
- Don't smoke. Smoking and diabetes make a deadly combination. If you smoke, there are many helpful methods to quit.
- Control your blood pressure. This is one of the main ways to help prevent heart attacks and kidney failure. If your blood pressure is higher than 130/80, ask your doctor if you should get treatment.
- Control your cholesterol level. Ask your doctor to check your LDL level at least every year.
- Have a dilated eye exam yearly by an eye doctor (an ophthalmologist or optometrist). A dilated exam means drops are put in your eyes to make the pupil wider.
- Learn proper foot care. Know how to examine your feet and have your doctor examine your feet on a regular basis.