According to the National Diabetes Education Program, there are four steps patients should take to better manage their diabetes.
The first recommended step is to educate yourself about diabetes. According to the NDEP, this includes learning about the different types of diabetes, knowing who to include on your care team, and knowing why it’s important to manage your diabetes.
The NDEP says the next step to managing your diabetes is to know your ABCs – A1C, blood Pressure and cholesterol. Taking control of these three areas can help lower a diabetic’s risk for heart attack, stroke and other complications from diabetes.
- AIC: This is a blood test that measures a patient’s blood sugar levels over the past three months. This will allow the patient to see how his or her levels are over time.
- Blood pressure: It’s important for patients to keep their blood pressure under control to lower their risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
- Cholesterol: Patients should know their LDL and HDL levels. Too much LDL can cause a heart attack or stroke.
According to the NDEP, the third step in controlling your diabetes is learning how to live with diabetes. Living with diabetes includes learning how to cope with the potential stress of the diagnosis. It also includes learning to eat well and be active. Living with diabetes also involves knowing how and when to take your blood and how to take medication or insulin if needed.
The fourth step the NDEP recommends to manage your diabetes is to make sure you are getting the care you need. This means making regular doctor visits and getting the tests and medications that you need.