Most of the food you eat is turned into sugar, which your body uses for energy. Your pancreas (an organ close to the stomach) creates a hormone called insulin. This hormone helps the sugar get into your body. However, if you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make insulin or has trouble making insulin. When sugar starts to build up in your blood, this can lead to a variety of problems: heart attack, stroke and sometimes, even death.
Diabetes is a serious disease, but with proper management, we can help you live a healthy, full life. Let’s take a look at how to do that:
Step One: Talk to your doctor to learn more about your diagnosis
If you have symptoms, risk factors or a family history of diabetes, your doctor will want to do a blood test to check for diabetes. There are two types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: This is most common in children. With this type of diabetes, the body doesn’t make insulin. Insulin is needed to take the sugar from food and convert it into energy for the body.
- Type 2 diabetes: This tends to be more common in adults. With this type of diabetes, the body doesn’t make or use insulin well.
You’re responsible for managing your diabetes day-by-day, but our doctors will show you how to do that. We’ll teach you how to keep track of your blood sugar, blood pressure and medication. We can also refer you to diabetes support groups in your area. Call 844-599-3700 to make an appointment to learn more about diabetes management today.
Step Two: Pay attention to your diet
You’re going to have to go grocery shopping differently if you’re living with diabetes. Read the labels carefully and avoid foods that are high in:
- Saturated fat
- Trans fat
Eating foods with fiber (like whole-grain bread instead of white bread), fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products and lean meats are key foods to put in your shopping cart. We can help plan a meal plan that’s right for your lifestyle.
“Counting carbohydrates is key to managing your diabetes,” says Dr. Ariga. “That’s because too many carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar levels. We’ll show you how to use a measuring cup or scale to make sure you’re getting the right portion size and carbohydrates at each meal.”
Step Three: Take your medications
Even if you’re feeling good (which we hope you do!), you still need to take the medications we prescribed you. Whether it’s taking insulin or aspirin (to prevent a heart attack or stroke), we don’t want you to miss a dose. If you’re having trouble paying for your medications or you’re having side effects, please let us know.
Step Four: Stay active
Exercise is a great way to lower your blood sugar levels. We’ll encourage you to get about 30 minutes of physical activity each day. It can be as simple as a quick walk around the neighborhood, taking a dance class or going for a light jog. But before you begin exercising, we’d like to talk to you about creating an exercise plan. This is important because we can help you:
- Find the best time of the day for you to exercise because we want to make sure your workout is coordinated with your meals and medications.
- Talk to you about why it’s important to check your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercising — and what to do if you see warning signs of low blood sugar levels.
- Make medication adjustments, based on your exercise routine.
- Get prepared for exercise by reminding you to stay hydrated, bring a small snack or glucose tablets with you.