6 Things to Do for Better Diabetes Care in 2015

The start of a new year often brings a better commitment to health and wellness, and it's an opportune time to establish practices that will help you manage your diabetes.

In addition to regular blood sugar monitoring and healthy eating, here are six things you can do for better diabetes care in 2015.

1. See your doctor twice a year.

Even if you feel healthy, it's important to have at least one to two checkups with your general physician in a calendar year. These visits will give you a chance to discuss medication changes, lifestyle factors or other health concerns that may affect your diabetes over time.

2. Get an eye exam.

Eye care is a critical part of diabetes management, as your condition makes you more prone to vision loss, cataracts, glaucoma or even permanent blindness. Have a yearly eye exam and be sure your eye care provider is aware that you have diabetes.

3. Have an exercise plan.

Vowing to "exercise more" in the new year is a good start, but having a concrete plan is even better. Regular physical activity helps with consistent blood sugar control. The American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week. Strength training can also help replace body fat with muscle mass, which is important for overall health.

4. Know your numbers.

In addition to knowing what constitutes high, low and healthy blood sugar, make sure you also know how to interpret your numbers related to cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

5. Check your feet.

Diabetics are much more likely to get foot ulcers, cuts or sores. Make it a daily practice to check the health of your feet, and also have your doctor inspect them at your regular check-ups.

6. Plan your meals.

Good diabetes management starts with a commitment to healthy eating and meal planning. Preparation is the best way to ensure that you don't turn to unhealthy foods when you're on the go, at work, or busy. Stock your kitchen with a few diabetes-related cookbooks, bookmark recipes online, and use handy tools like portion control plates, a calorie tracker or a food scale to assist you in creating healthy habits.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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