The Easiest Way to Stay On Top of Your Diabetes
As anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes knows, successfully managing the disease depends on regular monitoring and careful planning. That’s why one of the best things you can do is work with your primary care physician to create a diabetes action plan–something that will work for you and your lifestyle.
Your personal plan will likely involve seeing how different factors, such as diet and exercise, affect your health. But it can be overwhelming to think about tracking things like what you eat, how often you go to the gym, and blood sugar levels. Don’t get too stressed—these little tips will make staying on top of your diabetes feel a lot more manageable:
Step 1: Become a Master at Monitoring
- Diet: It’s important to cut down on things that can cause blood sugar to spike, like refined carbs and added sugars. It is also very important to know which foods have carbohydrates, how to portion control them appropriately and spread them out evenly amongst meals for carbohydrate consistency. Keeping a food log (either in a little notebook or through an app on your phone) can help you track your diet and monitor proper portion sizes. You’ll be able to pinpoint the connection between what you eat, when you ate, and spikes or dips in blood sugar.
- Exercise: Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week and talk to your primary care physician about what kind of workouts are right for you. The goal is to do some aerobic/cardiovascular activity and some resistance training too. Record your exercise using a wearable fitness tracker or app on your phone.
- Blood sugar levels: It’s important to keep a close eye on blood sugar levels because if your levels become too high, it can damage your heart, kidneys, feet and even eyes. Test your blood sugar at least once a day (or as prescribed by your primary care physician) and record your numbers in a journal for future reference. If your glucometer stores the information, be sure you have the correct date and time programmed in it. Be sure to know what your goal levels are at various times throughout the day and what to do if your blood sugars are too high or dropping low, which can be especially dangerous.
- Medicine: If you’re taking multiple medications, keep a detailed list of everything you are prescribed and share it with family members in case of an emergency. While you’re at it, make a checklist so you can mark off when you’ve taken your doses every day. You can also use a compartmentalized pillbox or set an alarm to make sure you’re getting the medicine you need when you need it. There are also some apps available to help with medication compliance.
Step 2: Make Sure to Get Regular Check-Ups
Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician every 3 to 6 months for a basic wellness check-up. Your physician will be able to help you reevaluate your diabetes treatment plan and determine if you need further care. Make sure all of your shots are up to date, including flu and pneumonia, and ask for the following tests so you can keeps tabs on your health:
- Blood pressure
- Hemoglobin Test (HbA1c)
- Total cholesterol (HDL, LDL, triglycerides)
- Urine microalbumin
- Diabetes eye exam
- Dental exam
- Foot exam
- Any other needed tests that your doctor recommends
Step 3: Use the BCBSM Mobile App
The BCBSM mobile app isn’t just useful for helping you track your payments and find a doctor, it’s also a way to sync all of your diabetes tracking information in one place. Use the “Health & Wellness” section of the app to sync your food journal, exercise tracker, blood sugar log and more.
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