Patient Resources

AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™

Diabetes is a complex and serious disease, and managing it every day can be challenging. To help you, diabetes educators have developed seven key areas to focus on. A diabetes educator can help you set priorities and coach you on each of these areas.

Learn facts, tips, advice and activities about these seven areas and download helpful information sheets in English and Spanish. We also have the English version available as an audio file (.mp3) for visually impaired persons: Healthy Eating, Being Active, Monitoring, Taking Medication, Problem Solving, Reducing Risks and Healthy Coping.

Healthy Eating

Having diabetes doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite foods or stop eating in restaurants. In fact, there is nothing you can’t eat. But you need to know that the foods you eat affect your blood sugar. 

Being Active

Being active not just about losing weight. It has many health benefits like lowering cholesterol, improving blood pressure, lowering stress and anxiety, and improving your mood. If you have diabetes, physical activity can also help keep your blood sugar levels to normal and help you keep your diabetes in control.


Checking your blood sugar levels regularly gives you vital information about your diabetes management. Monitoring helps you know when your blood sugar levels are on target and it helps you make food and activity adjustments so that your body can perform at its best.

Taking Medication

There are several types of medications that are often recommended for people with diabetes. Insulin, pills that lower your blood sugar, aspirin, blood pressure medication, cholesterol-lowering medication, or a number of others may work together to lower your blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of complications and help you feel better.

Problem Solving

Everyone encounters problems with their diabetes control; you can't plan for every situation you may face. However, there are some problem-solving skills that can help you prepare for the unexpected -- and make a plan for dealing with similar problems in the future. 

Reducing Risks

Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk for developing other health problems. However, if you understand the risks, you can take steps now to lower your chance of diabetes-related complications. 

Healthy Coping

Diabetes can affect your physically and emotionally. It's natural to have mixed feelings about your diabetes management and experience highs and lows. The important thing is to recognize these emotions as normal but take steps to reduce the negative impact they can have on your self-care. 

© 2010 American Association of Diabetes Educators.  You may print and distribute the handouts, but the AADE logo must be maintained on all copies.
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