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Step 3: Manage Your Diabetes.

Many people avoid the long-term problems of diabetes by taking good care of themselves. Work with your health care team to reach your ABC goals (A1C, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol): Use this self-care plan.

  • Use your diabetes meal plan. If you do not have one, ask your health care team about one.
    • Make healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, chicken or turkey without the skin, dry peas or beans, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
    • Keep fish and lean meat and poultry portion to about 3 ounces (or the size of a deck of cards). Bake, broil, or grill it.
    • Eat foods that have less fat and salt.
    • Eat foods with more fiber such as whole grains cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
  • Get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Brisk walking is a great way to move more.
  • Stay at a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
  • Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.
  • Learn to cope with stress. Stress can raise your blood glucose (blood sugar). While it is hard to remove stress from your life, you can learn to handle it.
  • Stop smoking. Ask for help to quit.
  • Take medicines even when you feel good. Ask your doctor if you need aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Tell your doctor if you cannot afford your medicines or if you have any side effects.
  • Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling. Call your health care team right away about any sores that do not go away.
  • Brush your teeth and floss every day to avoid problems with your mouth, teeth, or gums
  • Check your blood glucose (blood sugar). You may want to test it one or more times a day. Use the card at the back of this booklet to keep a record of your blood glucose numbers. Be sure to take this record to your doctor visits.
  • Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises.
  • Report any changes in your eyesight to your doctor.

Actions you could take:

  • Talk with your health care team about your blood glucose targets. Ask how and when to test your blood glucose and how to use the results to manage your diabetes.

  • Discuss how your self-care plan is working for you each time you visit your health care team.

Publications

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4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life

4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life

(NDEP-67)

These four steps help people with diabetes understand, monitor, and manage their diabetes to help them stay healthy. This publication is excellent for people newly diagnosed with diabetes or who just want to learn more about controlling the disease.

The Power To Control Diabetes Is in Your Hands

The Power To Control Diabetes Is in Your Hands

(NDEP-38)

This brochure for older adults helps them manage their diabetes, understand how to check blood glucose levels, manage the ABCs of diabetes, and access Medicare benefits.

Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes (in English)

Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes (in English)

(NDEP-52EN)

This patient education sheet explains the link between diabetes and heart disease. It encourages patients to work with their health care team to set targets and manage their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It includes a record form to track target numbers.

Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime

Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime

(NDEP-4)

If you have diabetes, your feet need special attention. This booklet helps you care for your feet and provides tips to prevent serious foot problems.

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Resources

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National Diabetes Education Program: An Overview

National Diabetes Education Program: An Overview

Learn more about the National Diabetes Education Program's initiatives, goals and partnership network.

Diabetes Snapshot

Diabetes Snapshot

Print ad about the facts about diabetes: A leading cause of death in the U.S.

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