- Meal plan - What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat all affect your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Ask to see a dietitian who knows about diabetes. Together, you'll design a meal plan that can help you reach your goals and include your favorite foods.
- Physical activity routine - Regular physical activity helps lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It also keeps your joints flexible, strengthens your heart and bones, tones your muscles, and helps you deal with stress. Based on your goals, you'll want to plan a routine that can include aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises. You may need help from an exercise expert.
- Balance physical and emotional needs - A major barrier to reaching target goals is diabetes burnout or depression. Tell your health care team if you need help with your emotional response to diabetes. Most health care professionals know someone who is an expert in diabetes and emotional issues.
- Smoking - If you smoke, you're increasing your chances of diabetes problems, such as a heart attack. Ask your health care team about steps that can help you quit for good.
- Taking aspirin - A daily aspirin may help lower the chances of a heart attack and stroke. However, aspirin is not safe for everyone. Talk with your health care team to learn if it would be safe for you.
- Diabetes education - If you need a change in your meal plan or would like to learn more about your diabetes care, ask where to go to get help. There are a number of ways to learn more about diabetes, such as classes, support groups, websites, books, and videos.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a list of high quality diabetes education programs. These programs meet special standards to help you learn to take care of your diabetes. To find a program near you, call ADA at 1-800-DIABETES or go to www.diabetes.org/education/edustate2.asp.