The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) is urging people with diabetes to take steps, literally, to more successfully manage their diabetes this year.
AADE is presenting five tips that will help people with diabetes lower their A1C, a key measure of blood glucose control.
- Walk. Research has shown that exercise is a proven way to use glucose for energy. Incorporate a regular walk (or any exercise you enjoy) into your daily routine. Doing just 5 to 10 minutes of exercise at a time, eventually adding up to 30 minutes a day, can improve your blood glucose as you burn calories, loosen your joints, strengthen your muscles, and improve your stamina. It is important to wear good socks and shoes, keep your feet dry and clean, and do daily foot checks as you walk your way to better health
- Eat healthy. This sounds simple but is often very confusing. Simple strategies will help:
- Learn about and count carbohydrates, read food labels (hint: you may not be looking at the right information)
- Incorporate portion control (this allows you to enjoy your favorite foods while still maintaining good blood glucose control)
- Set goals and monitor what you eat (try an app on your smartphone or old-fashioned pen and paper – it doesn’t have to be complicated).
- Do not go more than 5 hours while awake without eating, and limit alcohol consumption (which could affect your blood glucose levels).
- Take your meds. Seek family support and discuss each and every medication with your pharmacist so that you understand them. If you struggle to take medications as prescribed, you aren’t alone. Ask your diabetes educator or healthcare provider for strategies to work on your medication routine. Regimen changes may be frustrating, but changes in medication (including adding new medications) is an effective way to stay on top of diabetes.
- Know the signs of depression and seek help. Depression is a condition that is common and should not be cause for embarrassment or shame. It can get in the way of taking care of your diabetes. But, it can be treated. Some indications of depression are loss of interest in regular activities, avoiding talking about your diabetes with family and friends, over-sleeping and feeling tired, having a change in appetite or a lack of concentration, or feeling hopeless and helpless as if you can’t take care of yourself.
- Head to toe: check your feet and eyes. Check your feet every day, looking for redness or sores or anything that doesn’t look normal, as these may be signs of a problem. Work with your podiatrist, diabetes educator, or another healthcare professional to learn how to do your daily foot checks. And, see your eye doctor at least once a year for a complete diabetes eye exam, a step that can slow or prevent problems with your vision. Your eyes are a window into your health.
“Utilizing a variety of strategies, a diabetes educator can help navigate the complex road of diabetes management,” said Dawn Sherr, Associate Director, Educational Content Development. “Diabetes educators help patients learn effective ways to self-manage their disease; and ultimately get control of diabetes, stay healthy and enjoy life!”
About the AADE:
AADE is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through education. With more than 14,000 professional members including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and others, AADE has a vast network of practitioners involved in the daily treatment of people with diabetes. Learn more: www.diabeteseducator.org.