You will not be able to control your diabetes unless you work at it. That fact is simple. Following through on what you need to do is probably not going to feel simple at first. In fact, it may feel overwhelming. Gaining the knowledge of what to do is the first step to adopting healthy habits that eventually may become routine for you. Try to give yourself time to learn about the disease, your medications and your body. Ask questions of your doctors when you need to. Keep track of your progress, noting trends or patterns, and learn from your mistakes.
Most importantly, DEVELOP A DIABETES MANAGEMENT PLAN! Doing so can help you develop the attitude you need to take steps toward good health, despite having diabetes. The majority of people who do this well have a strong sense of accomplishment and power over their lives — you can join their ranks.
Remember, YOU are the only one who can create — and follow — a plan. Your diabetes management plan should include the following:
- Identify and WRITE DOWN your goals. These become your criteria for success! Here are some ideas:
- Keep your blood glucose levels in the range agreed upon with your doctor, or as close to the normal range as possible.
- Have limited times when you have symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Keep cholesterol and triglycerides in the normal range to keep from having serious complications, such as heart disease and nerve damage.
- Lose weight if necessary, or stay at a healthy weight.
- Track your blood glucose levels, medications, meals and physical activity every day. This is the most important activity in your diabetes management. See below for more information.
- Identify short-term actions you can adopt toward a healthier lifestyle, including ways of exercising regularly and eating healthfully.
- Plan for changes in your normal routine. Know what to do when you are ill, or travelling.
- Come up with a plan to change unhealthy habits, such as overeating or smoking.
- Recognize and remind yourself of long-term steps you can take to prevent or delay problems that result from diabetes.
- Organize a support team that includes your healthcare team, family, online community or other resources.
- Find ways of checking your progress over time and keeping your diabetes management team up to date on how your treatment plan is working.
Written by Bobbie Hasselbring
Reviewed by Beth Seltzer, MD
Last updated June 2008