Anyone with diagnosed with diabetes must practice healthy lifestyle behaviors to avoid serious medical complications. This chronic condition and the 7th leading cause of death in the United States can easily lead to major health problems disrupting a person’s quality of life unless they take the necessary steps it takes to prevent from happening.
The numerous health complications include:
· Cardiovascular disease with an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks
· Blindness and eye problems
· Kidney problems
· Erectile dysfunction in men
· Slow healing of wounds due to poor circulation
Here are the six self-care behaviors all diabetics can begin today to lead a long, healthy life:
1. Choose healthy foods
· Choose plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry, lean meat and low-fat dairy.
· Limit pre-packaged foods, fried foods and fast foods.
· Follow a prescribed carbohydrate controlled meal plan designed for you.
· Limit added sugars found in desserts and sweetened beverages.
· Have consistent meals and snacks with moderate portion sizes.
· Avoid skipping meals
· Choose water as your main beverage.
2. Become and stay physically active
· Find an exercise you enjoy doing and make it a daily part of your life.
· Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week if not everyday.
3. Monitor blood glucose regularly
· Follow your physician’s advice on how frequently you should monitor your blood glucose. It could be several times each week, once a day or several times a day.
· Record the readings in a log booklet and take it with you to review with your physician at each visit.
4. Take all prescribed medications
· The diabetes medication prescribed to you must be taken regularly. If the medication is causing side effects, let your physician know this.
· Have a good understanding of the medications action, side effects, dosage and timing of action.
· It is not unusual to have changes made in diabetes medications so be sure to know why changes are being made.
5. Be proactive
· Quit smoking and have regular eye, foot, and dental exams
· Set a goal to have your HgbA1C be <7% and your blood pressure <140/90.
· If offered, attend any and/or all diabetes education classes taught by certified diabetes educators.
· Meet with a Registered Dietitian to have a complete understanding of what and how to eat to best control your blood glucose levels.
6. Reduce stress
· The first step is to recognize the signs of stress
· As best as you can, try to prevent or avoid stress and stressful situations and learn to relax
· Get support from other by joining a diabetes support group. Ask your physician for contacts or call your local diabetes state office for more information.