Managing diabetes – It is not easy but it is worth it

WALKING in Hood River can be a scenic pleasure, for people of all ages, and even light to moderate exercise is an important factor in reducing diabetes and its risk.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
WALKING in Hood River can be a scenic pleasure, for people of all ages, and even light to moderate exercise is an important factor in reducing diabetes and its risk.

November is national diabetes month. It is not easy to manage diabetes, but it is worth it. Managing your diabetes will help reduce health problems such as:

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Loss of vision
  • Kidney disease

Here are some ideas to help you manage your diabetes. They are from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney diseases.

Learn about your diabetes

Many people say they have “a touch of diabetes” or they do not have the “serious kind” of diabetes. Whether you are on insulin shots or are controlling your diabetes with diet and exercise, diabetes is something to take seriously. Learn more about your diabetes. Talk to your doctor, consider taking diabetes education classes or call your hospital’s local diabetes educators to learn more.

Learn how to live well with diabetes

Make healthier choices at meal times. Eating foods such as whole grains and fresh fruit and veggies will provide a good source of fiber.

Fiber can slow the rise in your blood sugar. Try to fill half your plate at meal time with veggies.

Look for ways to be more active every day. Park your car farther away from the store entrance, take a flight of stairs instead of an elevator, or walk around the block on your lunch break with a co-worker.

It is common to feel sad or overwhelmed at times, especially when you have diabetes. Seek out help from a counselor, clergy member, family or support group. This can often help you feel better.

Know your A-B-C’s of Diabetes

A is for A1C. This test measures your blood sugar control over a three-month period. Most doctors will want your A1c to be 7 percent or below. Talk to your doctor about your A1c goal.

B is for blood pressure. For most people with diabetes, your blood pressure goal will be 140/90 or less. Ask your doctor about your blood pressure goal.

C is for cholesterol. There are two types. The good is called HDL and the bad is LDL. Your doctor may have a specific goal for you.

Many people over 40 with diabetes may need a medication called a statin to help reach their cholesterol goal.

Get routine care to keep you healthy

Someone with diabetes should see their doctor two to four times a year. At these visits, your doctor may check your A1c, cholesterol, blood pressure, weight or look at your feet. This is a good time to ask questions about your diabetes. You also want to make sure you visit the dentist to have your teeth cleaned two times a year. Also, visit the eye doctor for a complete eye exam once a year.

It takes work every day to manage diabetes. It can be overwhelming at times. Learn as much as you can about your diabetes so you can make the best choices for you. Most health insurance companies realize the importance of diabetes education and will pay for it. If you would like more information about diabetes, contact Providence Hood River hospital certified diabetes educators at 541-387-6379.

Kelly Chambers, MS, RD, CDE, is Providence Hood River Hospital diabetes educator.

Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. We promote wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention, behavioral health, prevention of addictions and policy and environmental change. Join us at our next meeting Nov. 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Providence Hood River Hospital Boardroom.

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