Diabetes Awareness Month: Managing Your Diabetes

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There are many things people with diabetes can do to manage their diabetes. Maintaining an active lifestyle, eating well and taking your medications as prescribed are some of the ways you can keep your condition under control.

Uncontrolled diabetes can be harmful to your body. There are many exams, tests and meds you should know about to help make sure you’re keeping your diabetes in check and avoid some of those harmful effects.

A1C: Have an A1C test at least twice a year to know your average blood sugar over the past three months. The goal for most people who aren’t pregnant is an A1C under 7 percent, but some people with other medical issues may have a goal of under 8 percent.

Aspirin: This is recommended in patients with a history of heart and vascular (blood vessel) problems. Ask your doctor if you should take aspirin regularly.

Blood pressure: Your doctor will check your blood pressure at each visit and will work with you to keep it in check to help prevent complications like kidney, heart and eye problems. Your goal should be under 140/90 mmHg.

Blood sugar testing: You should test your blood sugar (also called glucose) regularly at home or on the go, using a glucose meter. This can help a doctor know your best treatment options. Talk to your doctor about how often you should test yourself.

Cholesterol: Bad cholesterol can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, so ask your doctor if you’re at risk. People over 40 who have diabetes should take medication to lower their cholesterol.

Eye exam: Get a retinal eye exam every year to check for changes in your eyes related to diabetes. If there are no signs or changes detected, you should get a retinal eye exam every two years.

Foot exam: Check your feet daily and tell your doctor about any changes. A complete foot exam once a year with a monofilament (a thin tube) to check your sensation is recommended. If high-risk foot conditions are present, have your feet checked at each doctor visit.

Urine testing: You should have your urine tested yearly for albumin, a type of protein typically found in blood that can be a sign of problems if it’s found in urine. The test can catch kidney damage early so it can be treated with medication. The results should be under 30 mg/g.

Vaccines: These help you avoid certain sicknesses and cut down on the spread of those sicknesses. Get a flu shot yearly and the pneumonia vaccine as recommended by your doctor.

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