If you are diabetic, daily maintenance consists of a seemingly endless care routine. There’s a lot to remember, and it’s easy to overlook things occasionally and slip up. If you’ve been out of your normal care routine, whether for days, weeks or longer, don’t panic before you see the doctor. Do what you can to get back into your regular routine of self care and health monitoring.
Every item on your doctor’s list is important. Like anything else, once you make these self-care tasks a habit, they won’t feel overwhelming. Print this list and hang it on your refrigerator door where you can see it as a reminder of what you need to do to keep yourself healthy.
8 Things Your Diabetes Doctor Wants You to Do
- Know your health numbers. Keep up with all of the important numbers associated with your diabetes, such as your BMI, A1c, kidney function, cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Watch what you eat. Keep track of what you eat and drink daily. Avoid sugary foods, count carbohydrates, and eat smaller portions.
- Monitor your blood sugar. Your blood sugar will rise and fall as you exercise, eat, or take medication, especially insulin. Checking your blood sugar levels will help you respond accordingly.
- Exercise. Do this daily. It can be something as simple as walking. There are many applications available for your smart phone that can track how much you move around in a day. This will give you an accurate picture of your average exercise level.
- See the eye doctor. An ophthalmologist can check you for diabetes-related eye disease. Not everyone with diabetes develops vision problems, but most are very treatable and catching them early helps.
- Go to the dentist. Even routine dental problems can cause complications for someone with diabetes. People with diabetes should get a dental checkup at least every six months.
- Examine your feet. Diabetes-related nerve damage can mean that you might have minor injuries to your feet that you can’t feel. This can lead to infections and other complications. Check the soles of your feet daily. Put lotion on them at night to keep the skin in good condition. Wear comfortable shoes that fit correctly. Ask your doctor to examine your feet whenever you have an office visit.
- Keep up good communication with your doctor. Write down any concerns or questions, so that you won’t forget to ask when you make your appointment. Share any emotional issues with your physician, such as depression, anxiety, stress or anger.
If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, it’s natural to be anxious and to feel overloaded with the changes that you need to make in your life. But these are changes you need to make for your life. You’re not alone. Learn about your disease. Build a support network that includes family and friends, your medical team, even a psychologist, if necessary. All of these people can help you and keep you motivated as you learn to confidently manage your own care. Diabetes is only the end of the world if you decide that it is.