With today’s technology and healthcare options, people with type 2 diabetes can still live a long, healthy life. These tips offer guidance for living with diabetes for you or others in your life who have been diagnosed.
- Don’t blame yourself. Type 2 diabetes is a genetic disease. When you have these genes, certain factors—such as being overweight—can trigger it, but that’s not the cause. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to actively protect and improve your health.
- Begin treatment and care immediately. You can’t feel diabetes when it is out of control, so you may think you don’t need to worry about it. But when ignored, diabetes can harm your body.
- Get involved in your diabetes care. Once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to see your doctor regularly, take your medications, stay active, and learn more about the foods you eat.
- Find a doctor you really trust. This may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t overlook it. It’s important to work with a doctor or other medical provider whom you trust and with whom you can be honest. Living well with diabetes is always easier when someone you like and respect is cheering you on.
- Know your numbers. Work with your doctor to make sure critical tests are done and that you know and understand the results. Focus on your ABCs—A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Your goal is to keep these numbers in a safe range.
- Take your prescribed medications. To stay healthy, your goal shouldn’t be to take fewer medications, but to make sure your numbers are in a safe range. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of treatments, and ask about other options. If cost or side-effects are an issue, work through these with your doctor to come up with safe, effective, and affordable alternatives.
- Learn about food and how to eat healthfully. No, this doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to granola. It means it’s time to really pay attention to portion sizes, and learn about the contents of your food, particularly carbohydrates, fat, and calories. You’ll want to understand how these affect your blood glucose and overall health.
- Focus on developing a healthy lifestyle, not weight loss. Increasing your fitness and choosing healthier foods will have a bigger impact on your diabetes and heart than losing weight. While these healthy behaviors may lead to lower weight over time, it’s best to keep the focus on improving your health.
- Form a support system. A diabetes diagnosis may mean several lifestyle changes and stress. Consider forming a support system of people, including family members, friends, your doctor, or a support group. Your support system can help keep you motivated, help you work through stress, and lift your spirits.
- Make the effort to take care of you. Good diabetes care takes attention and effort. While it can be tough, it’s worth it to take the steps to keep your numbers in range, eat healthfully, and move more. These steps will improve your quality of life.
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