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How to Manage Diabetes Effectively

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

If you are at risk for diabetes, or have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, there are some key things you can do to manage your blood sugar. Keeping your blood sugar within the recommended range is very important to keep free from infections and complications.

Eat the right foods

Your family doctor might refer you to a registered dietitian to help you make a meal plan. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are healthy and should be eaten with every meal. A low-carb diet with fewer processed foods like donuts, cereals, candy, and microwave meals might be suggested.

Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries have been studied and proven beneficial to managing blood sugar levels. Keeping fresh produce in the fridge can be difficult, but seasonal fruits and vegetables can be an inexpensive way to eat healthy.


Walk for 30 minutes

Your primary care physician is likely to follow up with how your exercise is going. Walking, swimming, biking, running, and more are great ways to get blood moving around your body.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Taking care of a pet, such as a dog, can be a good motivator to get out and move around more. Walking the dog is beneficial to you and to them.


Check your blood sugar at least 4 times a day

The number of times you check your blood sugar per day is going to vary based on your primary care doctor’s recommendation. Keeping your blood sugar well controlled will make your other blood tests better as well. Your doctor may occasionally order an HbA1c test that shows your average blood sugar over the past few months. This test shows everything, so you can’t hide your blood sugar spikes and troughs.


Decrease unhealthy habits

If you smoke, vape, or drink excessively, you could be at higher risk of having complications from diabetes. Your family physician can recommend programs or medications to help taper off of these substances. Quitting these substances will benefit your health in more ways than just your blood sugar.


Take medication as directed

The most common medications prescribed for diabetes are insulin and metformin. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, your primary care physician will prescribe you the proper dosage to best manage your diabetes.

Do not try to ration your medication or delay picking it up from the pharmacy. This can negatively impact your blood sugar. Ask your primary care doctor about potential assistance programs.


Managing your weight

Reaching a normal weight and maintaining that weight over time can help you manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, and more. Your primary care physician will likely take your weight at each visit.

You can use this BMI calculator to find your ideal weight. If your BMI is over 30, there are surgical and/or medication options available that your family doctor can inform you about. Weight management makes it easier to check your feet for wounds, walk 30 minutes daily, and more.


Accountability partners

If you feel like it would be easier to achieve your goals with some help, find an accountability partner. This is someone who can help you reach your goals while you help them in turn. This is one of the most effective ways to change.

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