Stethoscope on the Cardiogram

Diabetes Management

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Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst.

  • Weak, tired feeling.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.

  • Slow-healing sores or cuts.

  • Unplanned weight loss.

  • Frequent urination.

  • Frequent unexplained infections.

  • Dry mouth.

Keeping your blood sugar levels within the range recommended by your doctor can be challenging. That's because many things make your blood sugar levels change, sometimes unexpectedly. Following are some factors that can affect your blood sugar levels.

Food

  • Learn about carbohydrate counting and portion sizes. A key to many diabetes management plans is learning how to count carbohydrates. It's important to know the amount of carbohydrates in your food.

  • Make every meal well balanced. Pay attention to the types of carbohydrates you choose. Some carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are better for you than others. These foods are low in carbohydrates and have fiber that helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and the appropriate balance of food types.

  • Coordinate your meals and medications.

  • Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Exercise

  • Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan.

  • Keep an exercise schedule.

  • Know your numbers. 

  • Check your blood sugar level. 

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or other fluids while exercising because dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.

  • Be prepared. Always have a small snack or glucose tablets with you during exercise in case your blood sugar level drops too low. Wear a medical identification bracelet.

  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. 

Medication

  • Store insulin properly. Insulin that's improperly stored or past its expiration date may not be effective. Insulin is especially sensitive to extremes in temperature.

  • Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low or if it's consistently too high, the dosage or timing may need to be adjusted.

  • Be cautious with new medications. If you're considering an over-the-counter medication or your doctor prescribes a new drug to treat another condition — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medication may affect your blood sugar levels.

Illness

  • Plan ahead. 

  • Continue to take your diabetes medication. 

  • Stick to your diabetes meal plan. 

Alcohol

  • Get your doctor's OK to drink alcohol. 

  • Don't drink alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach.

  • Choose your drinks carefully.

  • Tally your calories. 

  • Check your blood sugar level before bed. 

Stress

  • Look for patterns. Log your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 each time you log your blood sugar level. A pattern may soon emerge.

  • Take control. Once you know how stress affects your blood sugar level, fight back. Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Exercise can often help relieve stress and lower your blood sugar level.

  • Get help.