Self-Care for Effectively Managing Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that can cause serious health complications, so it's important to take an active role in managing the disease. This series, produced in partnership with American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), reviews the AADE7 Self-Care BehaviorsTM, seven approaches to healthier behavior for people with diabetes.
Having diabetes does not mean you have to give up your favorite foods or stop eating in restaurants. In fact, there is nothing you can't eat. But you need to know that the foods you eat affect your blood sugar or blood glucose. By eating regular meals, thinking about the amount and types of food you eat, you can better control your diabetes and prevent other health problems.
Planning meals, snacks and activities is critical to maintaining your target blood sugar range. But sometimes things don't go as planned and an unexpected curve ball can wind up sending your blood sugar in the wrong direction. At times like these, you'll have to problem solve and then learn from the experience to prevent something similar from happening in the future.
When you have diabetes, your body doesn't properly manage blood sugar (glucose), its main source of fuel. To keep your blood sugar level on target and avoid problems with your eyes, kidneys, heart and feet, you may need to take medication. But you also need to monitor your blood sugar to see if it's too high or too low, so that you can get it back on track and prevent long-term health problems.
Taking control of your diabetes will help you head off the complications that can come with it. You can reduce your risk of heart attacks, stroke, damage to your kidneys and nerves, and loss of vision by keeping your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure in check. A diabetes educator can help you find the best ways to eat healthy, be active, monitor your blood sugar, take medication, solve problems and cope in a healthy way.
Being active is an important part of being healthy, and not just by helping you lose weight. Activity gets your heart rate up, burns calories and strengthens your muscles and bones. That, in turn, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, improves blood pressure and can improve your mood by lowering stress and anxiety.
Life is filled with stress from traffic jams to more serious issues such as divorce or money problems. Add in the challenges of managing diabetes, and stress sometimes can feel overwhelming. It's important to find healthy ways to cope because having a lot of stress can increase your blood sugar levels. There are many healthy ways to cope with stress so you don't turn to harmful habits such as smoking, overeating, drinking alcohol or being less active.