Diabetes Ongoing Care
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are chronic, lifelong conditions that require a commitment to ongoing care if you are to live well. Pay special attention to these parts of your life:
- Diet - There is no diabetes diet. You’ll need to eat fruit, vegetables and whole grains, foods that are good for your entire family. You can even have desserts once in a while if they are included in your treatment plan. Your WellStar physician and a registered dietician can help you develop a meal plan to fit your lifestyle and help you maintain good health.
- Physical activity - Everyone needs regular exercise, including people with diabetes. Talk to your WellStar physician before developing an exercise routine. Then plan at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week. If you haven't been active for a while, start slowly and build.
- Teeth - People with diabetes are prone to gum disease and infection. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. See your WellStar dentist at least twice a year and right away if your gums bleed or appear red or swollen.
- Physical exams - Schedule yearly physical exams so that your WellStar physician can look for diabetes-related complications and other medical problems.
- Eyes - An annual eye exam gives your WellStar ophthalmologist the opportunity to check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma.
- Immunizations and vaccinations - Because high blood sugar can weaken your immune system, get an annual flu shot and a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. Your WellStar physician may recommend other vaccines as well.
- Feet - Poor circulation can cause serious foot sores and infections. Wash and moisturize your feet every day. Check them for blisters, cuts, sores, redness or swelling. If you have a sore or other foot problem that doesn't begin to heal in a few days call your WellStar physician.
- Blood pressure and cholesterol - Control high blood pressure and high cholesterol through diet and, if necessary, medication.
- Quit smoking - Smoking greatly increases the risk of various diabetes complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease. Talk to your WellStar physician about ways to stop smoking.
- Alcohol - Alcohol can cause high or low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and whether you eat at the same time. If you drink, drink in moderation and always with a meal.
- Stress - Learn to control stress. The hormones your body may produce in response to stress can prevent insulin from working properly.