I recently read that November was Diabetes Awareness Day in America in an excellent article by Kelly Chambers, MS, RD, CDE, an American diabetes educator which I felt compelled to share:

November is national diabetes month. It is not easy to manage diabetes, but it can be done and it is worth it. Managing your diabetes will help reduce health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, loss of vision, kidney disease allowing you to live better, longer.

There are a number of ways you can help manage your diabetes. The following 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 oral or injection therapy 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 veggies will provide a good source of fibre. Fibre can slow the rise in your blood sugar. Try to fill half your plate at meal time with veggies. Take fruit in moderation and do not take fruit juices or smoothies as part of your regular diet.

Look for ways to be more active every day. Try small simple changes such as parking 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. Once you are comfortable with this start to do more formal exercise to develop cardiac, skeletal and mental health.

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 goals for you in the above areas and use medication to help you achieve these

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 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.

Good Luck!