4 steps to control your diabetes

4 Steps to Control

Your Diabetes. For Life.


Step 1: Learn about diabetes.

Step 2: Know your diabetes ABCs.

Step 3: Manage your diabetes.

Step 4: Get routine care to avoid problems.


Diabetes is a serious disease. It affects almost every part

of your body. That is why a health care team may help

you take care of your diabetes:

• doctor

• dentist

• diabetes educator

• dietitian

• eye doctor

• foot doctor

• mental health counselor

• nurse

• nurse practitioner

• pharmacist

• social worker

• friends and family

You are the most important member of the team.



Step 1:

Learn about diabetes.


Diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is

too high. Here are the main types of diabetes.



Type 1 diabetes:


the body does not make insulin.

Insulin helps the body use glucose from food for energy.

People with type 1 need to take insulin every day.


Type 2 diabetes:


the body does not make or use

insulin well. People with type 2 often need to take pills

or insulin. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes mellitus:


(GDM)—occurs when a woman is pregnant. It raises her

risk of getting another type of diabetes, mostly type 2,

for the rest of her life. It also raises her child’s risk of

being overweight and getting diabetes.


Diabetes is serious.


You may have heard people say they have “a touch of

diabetes” or that their “sugar is a little high.” These

words suggest that diabetes is not a serious disease.

That is not correct. Diabetes is serious, but you can

manage it!

All people with diabetes need to make healthy food

choices, stay at a healthy weight, and be active every day.

Taking good care of yourself and your diabetes can help

you feel better and avoid health problems caused by

diabetes such as:


• heart attack and stroke

• eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or

   going blind

• nerve damage that can cause your hands and feet

   to hurt, tingle, or feel numb. Some people may even

   lose a foot or a leg

• kidney problems that can cause your kidneys to

   stop working

• gum disease and loss of teeth

When your blood glucose is close to normal you are

likely to:


• have more energy

• be less tired and thirsty and urinate less often

• heal better and have fewer skin or bladder


• have fewer problems with your eyesight, skin, feet,

   and gums.


Step 2:

Know your diabetes ABCs.


Talk to your health care team about how to manage

your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. This can

help lower your chances of having a heart attack,

stroke, or other diabetes problem. Here’s what the ABCs

of diabetes stand for:

A for the A1C test (A-one-C).


It shows you what your blood glucose has been

over the last three months. The A1C goal for

many people is below 7.

High blood glucose levels can harm your heart and

blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.


B for Blood pressure.


The goal for most people with diabetes is below


High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard. It

can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.


C for Cholesterol.


The LDL goal for people with diabetes is below 100.

The HDL goal for men is greater than 40.

The HDL goal for women is greater than 50.

LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your

blood vessels. It can cause a heart attack or a stroke.

HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from your blood vessels.


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. Use this

self-care plan.


• Use your diabetes food plan. If you do not have

   one, ask your health care team for one.


– Eat healthy foods 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 portions to

  about 3 ounces (or the size of a pack of cards).

  Bake, broil, or grill it.


– Eat foods that have less fat and salt.


– Eat foods with more fiber such as whole-grain

  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


• Stay at a healthy weight by making healthy food

   choices and moving more.


• Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health

  counselor, support group, member of the clergy,

  friend, or family member will listen to your

  concerns and help you feel better.


• Learn to cope with stress. Stress can raise your

   blood glucose. 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

   you doctor if you need aspirin to prevent a heart

   attack or stroke. Tell your doctor if you cannot

   afford your medicine 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 won’t go away.


• Brush your teeth and floss every day to avoid

   problems with your mouth, teeth, or gums.


• Check your blood glucose. You may

   want to test it one or more times a day.


• Check your blood pressure. If your doctor advises.


• Report any changes in your eyesight to your doctor.


Step 4:

Get routine care to avoid problems.


See your health care team at least twice a year to find

and treat problems early. Discuss what steps you can

take to reach your goals.


At each visit get a:


• blood pressure check

• foot check

• weight check

• review of your self-care plan shown in Step 3

  Two times each year get an:

• A1C test—It may be checked more often if it is over 7

  Once each year get a:

• cholesterol test

• triglyceride test- a type of blood fat

• complete foot exam

• dental exam to check teeth and gums—tell your

  dentist you have diabetes

• dilated eye exam to check for eye problems

• flu shot

• urine and a blood test to check for kidney problems

At least once get a:

• pneumonia shot


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