July 5, 2024

5 Steps for Managing Diabetes | Type 1 and Type 2

We’ll walk you through five steps to help you manage your diabetes so you can live a life you love. Written by: US MED Staff  Clinically Reviewed by: Shirley DeLeon, RD, CDCES Managing diabetes isn’t always easy. The process of dealing…

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Home / Living with Diabetes / 5 Steps for Managing Diabetes | Type 1 and Type 2

We’ll walk you through five steps to help you manage your diabetes so you can live a life you love.

Written by: US MED Staff

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist Clinically Reviewed by: Shirley DeLeon, RD, CDCES

Managing diabetes isn’t always easy. The process of dealing with this condition comes with all sorts of inconvenient testing requirements and dietary changes – and that’s not even considering the side effects and potential complications associated with the disease. Whether you’ve just received a type 1 or type 2 diabetes diagnosis, or you’ve been dealing with diabetes for years, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times.

However, that doesn’t mean people with diabetes should give up hope entirely. Having a solid understanding of the basics (or even reviewing what you already know) can go a long when it comes to developing a successful strategy for managing diabetes. Read on for US MED’s overview of five steps you can take to manage diabetes for life.

Step One: Learn About Diabetes

Before you can implement steps for effectively managing diabetes, you’ll need to understand this condition. Since there are multiple types of diabetes, and since each type is treated differently, managing diabetes can be a complicated process. Your first step should be learning everything you need to know about how diabetes can affect you.

Reading up on diabetes is vital for people who take this disease seriously. While some people with diabetes don’t believe it has much of an impact on their lives, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When diabetes management strategies bring your glucose levels close to the norm, you’ll benefit from:

  • Lower levels of sleepiness and thirstlearn-the-best-strategies-for-managing-diabetes
  • Improved healing
  • Less frequent urination
  • Fewer bladder/skin infections
  • Dental problems
  • Increased energy

At the same time, you’ll enjoy lower risks of:

  • Kidney failure
  • Nerve damage
  • Blindness or blurred vision
  • Strokes and heart attacks

The Main Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes and a health condition that isn’t technically a type of diabetes but is closely related to the disease.

  • If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce the insulin you need. Insulin is responsible for taking the glucose contained in food and converting it into a source of energy. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin every day.
  • People with type 2 diabetes (the most common type of diabetes today) may or may not produce enough insulin, but their bodies have issues using it effectively. Along with lifestyle changes, you might need pills or insulin in your efforts to manage this disease.
  • During pregnancy, some women develop what is known as gestational diabetes. In most cases, this type of diabetes will not last after they give birth. Still, gestational diabetes is a risk factor for diabetes in the future.
  • Prediabetes is a condition where people have elevated blood sugar levels, but not to the point where they have type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, eating a balanced diet, getting more physical activity, and other lifestyle changes can help you avoid a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes later on.

Get More Diabetes Info

While this article can help you start your diabetes management, it doesn’t contain everything you need to know. Here are some great ways to find more information on diabetes:

  • Talk to your doctor and healthcare team. Depending on your needs, this team may include educators, dietitians, healthcare specialists, and others.
  • Sign up for classes and peer support groups. Your healthcare team should be able to suggest groups and courses you can join.

Look for information online. US MED’s blog is a great place to start – each article goes through a medical review process with our own Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist before publication.

Step Two: Know Your Diabetes ABCs

To take care of diabetes, you’ll need to know how to manage your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol. By doing so, you can reduce your odds of strokes, heart attacks, and other diabetes complications.

A is for A1C Tests

A1C tests manage your average blood sugar levels over the course of three months. Since high glucose levels can cause severe health problems, it’s crucial to measure these numbers over time so you can react accordingly.

Many people managing diabetes should aim for A1C results below seven. That might not be the case for you, so make sure to ask what your goal should be to optimize your personal diabetes management plan.

B is for Blood Pressurediscovering-the-abcs-of-managing-diabetes

Avoiding high blood pressure is essential for everyone, and that’s especially true if you have diabetes. When a person’s blood pressure is abnormally high, they could suffer from heart problems and eye/kidney damage.

In many cases, blood pressure below 140/90 is ideal for people with diabetes. Again, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor what goal you should aim to reach.

C is for Cholesterol Levels

Some varieties of cholesterol are worse than others. LDL cholesterol comes with the danger of buildup that can clog your blood vessels, but HDL cholesterol can help get rid of built-up LDL.

Talk to your healthcare team about where your cholesterol levels should be and how to improve your current levels. People over the age of 40 may need to start taking a statin drug as part of their cholesterol management strategy.

Step Three: Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Managing diabetes can be an elaborate and confusing process. The good news is that some of the most important steps you’ll need to take are relatively simple. By prioritizing your health, you can manage diabetes more successfully than ever – both now and in the long term.

Build a Diabetes Meal Plan 

Early in your diabetes management journey, you’ll want to talk to your healthcare team about building a diabetes meal plan. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to focus on eating balanced portions of produce, protein sources (including plant-based proteins), fiber rich starches, and healthy fats.

Get Physically Active

medicare coverage for cgm

It’s difficult to overstate how important exercise is in diabetes management. If you don’t get much physical activity, start slow – even taking 10-minute walks three times each day can help. Along with that, aim to do strength-building exercises (including anything from heavy gardening to yoga) twice a week.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Since stress can increase your blood glucose levels, you’ll also need to improve your state of mind. You can reduce stress with deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques. If you need extra help, talk to friends, family members, a support group, clergy members, or a mental health counselor.

Know Other Ways to Improve Your Health

Along with following these steps, you should:

  • Take your medications as prescribed, no matter how healthy you feel.
  • Brush and floss daily.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly. Using a CGM simplifies this process.
  • Learn how to stop smoking if you smoke.
  • Keep an eye out for blisters, cuts, and other abnormalities on your feet.

Step Four: Get Routine Care

For long-term diabetes management, you’ll need to check in with your healthcare team at least twice annually. That way, you can get regular updates on how things are progressing and what you need to do to avoid any problems.

At these visits, you should make sure to get a:

  • Foot check
  • Weight check
  • Blood pressure check
  • Self-care plan review

Along with this, you should get an A1C test twice each year.

There are other things you should make sure to get once a year. These include:

  • Urine/blood tests for kidney problems
  • Flu shot
  • Eye exam
  • Dental check-up
  • Thorough foot exam
  • Cholesterol test

Finally, be sure to get shots for pneumonia and hepatitis B at least once in your life, and make sure you understand how Medicare covers your diabetes-related needs if you have it.

Step Five: Find a Reliable Source of Diabetes Supplies

By following the steps listed above, you’ll be well on your way to successfully managing diabetes for years to come. But once you’ve built a diabetes management strategy, you’ll need to follow it – and that means having access to diabetes supplies.

At US MED, we take pride in being the most qualified supplier of diabetes-related products on the market. We’ve been active in the industry for more than 20 years, and the American Diabetes Association has officially recognized our efforts in this field. Order from our online store today if you need diabetes testing supplies, CGM systems, insulin pumps, or anything else!

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