The most important thing to remember when you have diabetes is that helping yourself deal with the daily details while finding long-term ways to stay in control leads to success. Here are six ideas to help you.
- Start a new diary: Track your life—and your life with diabetes. Use your new journal to record daily goings-on, as well as your blood glucose test results, diet and weight changes, medication use, doctor appointments and more.
- Meet with a CDE: Learning about your condition is a great way to take care of yourself. A certified diabetes educator (CDE) can help you with everything from testing your blood sugar to nutrition advice to exercise recommendations to assistance with social services and more.
- Learn to count: Carbohydrate counting is an important part of diabetes diet control. Read the "Total Carbohydrate" line on packaged foods. Know that carbs are more than just sugar, and that one serving of carbohydrate is about 15 grams (e.g., a slice of bread or ¾ cup of cereal). Try not to exceed 6 to 11 servings (90 to 165 grams) per day. Consult with your CDE or nutritionist for the daily carbohydrate target that's right for you.
- Create your own fruit/veggie-of-the-month club: Here's a fun way to reduce calories from snacks and to adjust your carbohydrate intake. Looking for something crunchy? Try some celery instead of corn chips. Want something sweet? Try an apple or orange instead of a piece of candy. And to keep you interested, add a different veggie and/or fruit each month into your recipes and snacks.
- Have a monthly diabetes potluck party: If you have friends or relatives with diabetes, team up with them for a rotating diabetes get-together. Hold the event at a different person's home each month, with each participant providing a diabetes-wise dish—from appetizers to dessert. It's fun, and it gives you a chance to discuss diabetes issues and exchange diabetes-smart recipes.
- Schedule your A1c test: Unlike the daily fasting plasma glucose test you administer, which provides "at the moment" blood glucose information, this professionally conducted blood test should be taken every two to four months. It shows your average blood glucose levels over an extended period. These data can help you and your doctor better gauge your condition.
Your target range is 6%-7%. The higher the percentage, the greater the amount of glucose in your bloodstream, and the greater your need for blood glucose control.