Living With Diabetes

Keep track of the food you eat

For people with diabetes, it's important to keep body weight and blood sugar under control. It may help to write down what you eat in a food diary. Details like what time you eat, how hungry you are before and after you eat, and what you're thinking about while you eat could go in your food diary. After a while, you may learn more about why you make the food choices you make. And you may learn what you can do to change them, if necessary.

 

Kick habits like smoking and drinking too much

Smoking cigarettes can lead to many health problems. Diabetes symptoms and health problems related to diabetes are worse for smokers than nonsmokers. It's also important not to drink too much alcohol. If you are a heavy drinker and have diabetes, it is a good idea to cut down or even stop drinking. To learn more about how your drinking may be affecting your diabetes, talk with your diabetes care team. 

You can read more about alcohol and type 1 diabetes here.

 

Take good care of your feet

People with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their feet.  Some people with diabetes get tingling or numbness in their feet due to nerve damage (also called diabetic neuropathy). If you experience numbness in your feet, you may get a blister or cut down there and not feel it. If you don’t know you have cuts on your feet, you’re probably not doing anything to treat them. And after a while, these injuries could become infected. 

That is why it’s important to take good care of your feet. Check your feet every day to make sure there are no blisters, swelling, cuts, or other problems. Wash your feet daily. And wear clean, dry socks throughout the day. Don’t go barefoot, even inside the house. You can talk with your diabetes care team, including a foot doctor (podiatrist), about any foot problems you may have. 

Learn more about foot health and physical activity with this helpful fact sheet.

 

Protecting your eyes

High blood sugar can damage the tiny vessels that bring blood to your eyes, leading to a variety of problems, and possibly even loss of vision. Which is why, if you’re living with diabetes, proper eye care is extremely important. 

Learn the steps you can take to help protect your eyes.

 

Keep your teeth and gums healthy

Diabetes may lead to higher levels of sugar (glucose) in your saliva. This could lead to a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you brush at least 3 times a day and floss daily. You should also make regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Learn more about diabetes and your teeth and gums at Cornerstones4Care.com.

 

Get a good night's rest

It is important to your total health to get a full night of sleep. If you feel you are having difficulty sleeping, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder, especially in people who are overweight. It occurs when breathing stops for brief periods during the night. Loud snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnea. 

Talk to your diabetes care team if you have sleep apnea, or if you feel that you aren't getting enough sleep at night.

 

Check in with your diabetes care 
team regularly

Your diabetes care team may be more than just your doctor, just like your diabetes treatment plan is more than just treating your blood sugar. Diabetes may also affect your eyes, nerves, feet, and your teeth and gums. You should work with health care providers who specialize in these fields of care as well. You’ll want to meet with these providers regularly:

Primary care physician—your family physician who you see for general checkups and when you get sick

Endocrinologist—a doctor who specializes in treating diabetes and other hormone-related conditions

Diabetes educator—a medical professional who is trained to teach or care for people with diabetes

Registered dietitian—a professional who’s trained in nutrition who can help you figure out the best foods for you

Ophthalmologist—a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases and eye disorders

Podiatrist—a doctor who specializes in the feet

Dentist—a doctor who treats the teeth and gums

Nurse educator—a registered nurse (RN) with special training and background in caring for and teaching people with diabetes

Pharmacist—trained professionals who know about the chemistry of medicines you take for your diabetes and other conditions

Other health professionals as needed

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