Lifestyle is Key to Diabetes Self-Management

In many cases, you can control diabetes through better nutrition, a healthy weight, physical activity, and regular check-ups with your health care team.

Sometimes medication is also necessary, which your doctor will determine. Medication, if prescribed by your doctor, is a crucial component of diabetes management and should be taken as directed. Some medications need to be timed with meals, and if so your doctor will instruct you on appropriate timing.

What, when and how much you eat are all important factors in managing diabetes. With the help of your doctor, you should develop and follow a meal plan based on your individual needs.

Nutrition Tips for People with Type 2 Diabetes

Follow a consistent meal plan and schedule.
Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, low-fat dairy products, and lean meat, poultry, fish or meat alternatives.
Eat the right amount of carbohydrate foods for good blood sugar control. Your registered dietician can determine how much carbohydrate food your body needs at each meal.
Choose lower fat options and limit saturated fats.
Use sugar in moderation. Consider lower sugar options if available.
Check nutrition labels.
Get your fibre. 20-35 grams of fibre per day is the recommendation. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grain foods are good sources of fibre.
Drink plenty of water.
Use less salt.

Nutrition for People with Type 1 Diabetes

People with Type 1 diabetes should follow good general nutrition guidelines, and in addition, the insulin dose can be adjusted to the mealtime carbohydrates, which allows for more flexibility in meal planning. Your doctor can help determine how much insulin you need at each meal.
Everyone knows that physical activity is good for your health. But it’s especially important for people with diabetes or those trying to prevent the disease.
In addition to improving blood sugar control, decreasing the risk of diabetes, and maintaining overall good health and weight management, being active boosts brain activity, helps you deal with stress and improves your mood!
Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to being overweight. Diabetes research demonstrates that along with healthy eating habits, regular physical activity helps the body to use insulin better, which helps to improve the symptoms or even reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It is very important to check with your doctor first before starting any exercise program. Your doctor can give you an appropriate exercise prescription based on your personal health status.
Foot Care
It is very important to check your feet daily, keep them clean and soft, wear well-fitting, breathable shoes and socks, and report any changes you observe to your doctor.
Checking Your Blood Sugar
If your doctor has instructed you to check your blood sugar, be sure to follow instructions for frequency and times of day, as this can help to identify blood sugar patterns which may need to be corrected. Your doctor will determine your personal blood sugar goals.
Also, be sure to follow the metre instructions for coding (if necessary) and checking for accuracy with a test strip using control solution from time to time. It is also important to keep your strips tightly closed.
Always check your blood sugar if you feel symptoms of high blood sugar (thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision), or low blood sugar (light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, sweating, shaking, fast or pounding heartbeat) and call your doctor. It is important to immediately treat low blood sugar (<70) with a simple carbohydrate such as fruit juice, biscuits, chocolates or glucose tablets.
Check your blood sugar more often when you are sick, as infection can make blood sugar rise. And be sure to get plenty of fluids and drink some carbohydrate containing fluids if you can’t eat. It is very important to continue taking your diabetes medications when you are sick. If you are unsure of dosages if unable to eat, call your doctor.
Safe Sharps Disposal
Lancets (as well as needles/syringes, if used) should be disposed of in a safe sharps container.
Good Health Care Follow Up
Finally, it is very important to see your doctor regularly to monitor your diabetes, make adjustments in medications, order appropriate tests, and prescribe education for you to better manage your diabetes day to day.