Feeling overwhelmed with managing your Diabetes?

Four quick tips to diabetes self-management.

When a person is diagnosed with a chronic disease, such as diabetes, it may lead to increased stress, anxiety and confusion on how to manage their diet. Common questions people ask when they are diagnosed are, where can I obtain more information about diabetes and are there people out there other than me who are just as confused and overwhelmed with this new diagnosis? To ease feelings of being overwhelmed, there are up to five easy steps to take when learning to manage their diabetes. According to National Diabetes Education Program 4 Steps to Control Your Diabetes. For Life., the steps are to:

  • Learn about Diabetes
    • Type 1 diabetes - The body does not make insulin. Insulin helps the body use glucose from food for energy.
    • Type 2 diabetes - The body does not make or use insulin well. People with Type 2 diabetes often need to take pills or insulin.
  • Know your diabetes ABC’s
    • A is for the A1C test (A-one-C). It shows what your blood glucose has been over the last three months.
    • B is for blood pressure. The goal for most people with diabetes is below 130/80.
    • C is for cholesterol. The LDL goal for people with diabetes is below 100.
  • Manage your Diabetes
    • Taking good care of themselves.
    • Follow your diabetes meal plan. If you do not have one, ask your health care team to help you develop a meal plan.
    • Get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Brisk walking is a great way to move more.
    • Ask for help if you feel down.
    • Learn to cope with stress. Stress can raise your blood glucose.
    • Take medicines even when you feel good.
    • 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.
    • Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises.
    • Report any changes in your eyesight to your health care team.
    • Discuss how your self-care plan is working for you each time you visit your health care team.
  • Get routine care
    • Flood pressure check
    • Foot check
    • Weight check
    • Dental exam to check teeth and gums - tell your dentist you have diabetes
    • Dilated eye exam to check for eye problems

It is also important to remember that a fifth step to better diabetes management is being sure to laugh and relax. Be sure to find joy and laughter throughout your day. It may help to take time to relax through deep breathing several times during the day. The National Council on Aging recommends the 5 Steps to Better Manage Your Diabetes. To learn more about chronic disease self-management contact your local Michigan State University Extension office. MSU Extension offers programming to help those at risk or who have diabetes manage their symptoms to life a fulfilling lifestyle.

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