3 Common Diabetes Mistakes
Mistakes … we all make them. When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, there’s lots to learn, and a few mistakes are bound to happen. Here are 3 common ones and tips to help you avoid them:
1. Not Testing Enough
Everyone is different; so is their diabetes. Your treatment plan needs to work for you. Test your blood sugar often when you’re first learning how your body responds to food and activity. Keep track of eating, exercise, and blood sugar levels, so you can spot highs and lows and figure out what caused them. Then work with your doctor to adjust your treatment plan as needed.
Getting sick affects your blood sugar levels too. You may not feel like eating, which makes blood sugar harder to manage. If you have a flu-like illness, test your blood sugar every four hours and track the results. Call your doctor if your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL or stays above 240 mg/dL for 2 tests in a row. If your blood sugar is very high, also test your urine for ketones using an over-the-counter ketone test kit. Call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated right away.
2. Not Moving Enough
People with diabetes get big benefits from being physically active, such as better management of blood pressure, blood sugar, and body weight. Physical activity can also help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease and nerve damage.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym. A smart move is setting a reasonable, specific goal, such as walking for 15 minutes after dinner. Build up gradually until you’re active for 30 minutes on most days. Be sure to check with your doctor first about which activities are best for you and if there are any you should avoid.
Still dragging your feet? Test your blood sugar before and after you’ve been active and see the fruits of your labor right away. Make it a habit, since physical activity can also lower your A1c.
3. Not Keeping Regular Appointments
You’ve got diabetes, and you’re managing it well—eating healthy, being active most days of the week, and taking meds as prescribed. In fact, you feel pretty good. People who feel good can skip doctor’s appointments, right?
Wrong! Seeing your health care team regularly is an essential part of your treatment plan. For one thing, you may not know if you’re developing a diabetes-related health complication because there may not be any symptoms. Following your schedule of checkups and tests will help catch complications early when treatment is most effective. Another big reason not to miss checkups: adjusting your treatment plan with your doctor or dentist as needed so you can be your healthiest and feel your best.