Diabetes Management

Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is an essential part of a diabetes management program. Healthy eating can help you to:

  • Lose weight
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Regulate blood sugar

If your doctor or dietician recommends losing weight as part of your diabetes management program, the NIDDK offers these helpful tips.

  • Reduce daily intake of fat and calories
  • Limit fat intake to 25% of total caloric intake
  • Decrease portion sizes
  • Increase fruits and vegetables
  • Track progress with a food and exercise log
  • Reward yourself for progress with a non-food item

Follow these NIDDK recommendations to help you regulate your blood sugar:

  • Eat same amount of food each day
  • Eat meals and snacks at same time each day
  • Do not skip meals or snacks
  • Take prescribed medications at the same time each day
  • Exercise at the same time each day
  • Eat the same amount of carbohydrate each day
 

Exercise

As part of a diabetes management program, exercising will help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise enhances the body’s ability to make and use insulin while regulating blood glucose.

The NIDDK offers these guidelines:

  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, everyday. You may exercise for several shorter exercise sessions throughout the day.
  • Start slow.
  • Choose something you enjoy and will do consistently.
  • Track and record your progress.
  • Reward yourself with a non-food item.
 

Monitoring Blood Glucose

Monitoring your blood glucose throughout the day is a necessary part of your diabetes management program. Generally, you should check your blood sugar when you wake up, before all meals, before you go to bed, when you feel hypoglycemic and any other time when unusual circumstances may be present – after exercise, when you are sick, when you are experiencing stress, etc.

It is helpful to keep a log to monitor your blood glucose levels over time. It will help you determine how well your diabetes is being controlled.

Blood glucose levels should be 80 – 120 mg/dL before breakfast in the morning and before all meals, 180 mg/dL or less two hours after a meal and 100 – 140 mg/dL at bedtime. These numbers are provided as a guideline only. Ask your doctor what your personal blood glucose target levels should be.

Working With Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare Provider Primary Functions
Primary Care Doctor or Endocrinologist • Can perform a test to diagnose diabetes

• Can perform a hemoglobin A1c test

• Draw blood to measure glucose and lipid levels and check kidney function

• Measure blood pressure

• Perform urinalysis to check for sugar, protein and waste
Ophthalmologist Performs dilated eye exam to look for diabetes related sight problems.
Podiatrist Checks your feet and legs for wounds and test nerves for sensation.
Dietician Can evaluate food plans and make recommendations for dietary changes to lose weight, help regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Dermatologist Treats dry skin and wounds associated with diabetes.
Dentist • Performs oral exams at least twice a year to evaluate teeth and gums and identify any diabetes related problems (plaque build up, sore/bleeding gums, gum disease)

• Cleans teeth and removes plaque at least twice a year