With so much to think about in terms of doses of medication, restocking supplies, tracking calories, etc., it is easy to overlook the most basic of best practices when it comes to managing our diabetes. Sometimes the simple things are the most effective when it comes to diabetes management.
Here are my top 10 dos and don’ts when it comes to diabetes care:
- DO be diligent about testing your blood sugar. Staying on top of it will allow for better blood sugars which means a healthier you and a healthier future!
DON’T become lackadaisical about monitoring your blood sugar. Starting to get lazy is a slippery slope and bad habits are hard to break.
- DO make sure you are on top of making routine visits to your healthcare team. Making sure you get checked out regularly is key to long-term health.
DON’T assume that you are fine and don’t need to have check-ups. Aside from prescribing our medication and insulin, doctors run thorough necessary blood work and exams that can flag issues that can be avoided or treated.
- DO be mindful of what you are eating. Not only will this help your blood sugar levels, but it will also help avoid weight gain. Healthy eating will also ensure you are doing what you can to control your overall health.
DON’T eat whatever you want and not care about the impact on your blood sugar. High blood sugar can lead to complications so the more time in range, the better off we will be. And if you do plan on splurging, make sure you are prepared with a plan in place to minimize the spike and get those numbers down.
- DO make sure to always use an alcohol swab before testing and always use sterile needles. I know we all get lazy and sometimes skip this step but this is the best way to get an accurate reading and avoid infection.
DON’T reuse needles! This is something I am guilty of. I’ve even had a few needles break off into the ball of my insulin pen which resulted in me not receiving the proper amount of insulin for days until I finally realized what was going on. I also know of a few people who developed serious infections from reuse. Learn from our mistakes!
- DO keep an organized system for all your diabetes supplies. Maintaining order will make your life easier and your diabetes management a little less stressful. This will also help you to see what you are running low on.
DON’T be like me and be disorganized with your supplies. It is terrible to not have a system in place because you won’t realize what you are out of until it’s too late. (Note to self: organize diabetes drawer this weekend!)
- DO make sure to be active. Find something you love and do it often! There is little better for our diabetes and overall health than getting our bodies moving. This will also help you manage your weight which can be extremely helpful when managing your diabetes.
DON’T be scared to start. Exercise comes in many different forms, it is just about finding the one that works for you. Find a buddy, work out at home, or push out of your comfort zone and stop by a local gym! You won’t regret it. I got up the courage to walk into a CrossFit gym and I’m still going strong there three years later.
- DO wear a medical alert bracelet. This is something I was reluctant to do for the first two years after diagnosis. Then I decided to not be selfish (or stubborn) and think about those who care about me. Having a visible alert of some kind can mean the difference in the outcome of an emergency situation.
DON’T assume that you don’t need to wear some sort of recognizable alert. Even if you are a person with type 2 diabetes and not using insulin, it is important for an emergency medical technician to know the health condition you have before treating you.
- DO reach out for support and get involved with the diabetes community. Not only will you get advice and tips, but you will also form friendships that will make this condition a little easier to deal with.
DON’T think you can go about this all on your own. Everyone needs a little support sometimes. Even if you are just frustrated and want to vent, having someone to listen is so beneficial.
- DO advocate. Before my diagnosis, I knew very little about this disease. And at first, I was very quiet about my new normal. Then, thanks to the encouragement of diabuddies, I became loud and proud. I do whatever I can to educate and spread awareness. Because of that, I have helped many people and that also helps me.
DON’T let ignorance prevail. There is too much stigma surrounding diabetes, we must all do our part to change that.
- DO be kind to yourself. Diabetes is not an easy job. It takes a lot of time, patience, and planning. With the right knowledge, tools, and support, you can thrive!
DON’T think of this as a life sentence. Diabetes can be managed, even if it seems daunting. Stay tuned throughout the month as we highlight some inspirational stories. You are stronger than you think!
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