Need a little extra help managing your diabetes? Some of the best ways to do this include eating a healthy diet, taking your medications as prescribed and continuously working with your doctor and NOAH care team members.
Your healthcare team includes your doctor, dietitian, behavioral health counselor, and care coordinator. But remember, you are the most important member of the team. Your health care team is available to help you manage your diabetes and maintain your good health.
How often should I see my doctor?
People with diabetes who are treated with insulin shots generally should see their doctor at least every three to four months. People with diabetes who are treated with pills or who are managing diabetes through diet should be seen at least every four to six months. More frequent visits may be necessary if your blood sugar is not controlled or if complications of diabetes are worsening.
What information should I give my doctor?
Generally, your doctor needs to know how well your diabetes is controlled and whether diabetic complications are starting or getting worse. Therefore, at each visit, provide your doctor with your home blood sugar monitoring record and report any symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Your doctor also should be informed of any changes in your diet, exercise, or medicines, and of any new illnesses you may have developed. Tell your doctor if you have experienced any symptoms of eye, nerve, kidney, or cardiovascular problems, such as:
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in your feet
- Persistent hand, feet, face, or leg swelling
- Cramping or pain in the legs
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or weakness on one side of your body
- Unusual weight gain
The following resources provide basic tips to help you achieve these goals (thanks to AADE)! Don’t forget to see your provider every 3-6 months to discuss your diabetes care plan and to meet with a NOAH Care Coordinator for diabetes education and health tips!
Just call us at 480-882-4545.
Physical Activity for Diabetes
A healthy lifestyle – including regular physical activity and exercise – can make a big impact for people living with diabetes. Some easy, daily changes are just as important as medication and diet to living a healthy, full life.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be an intense exercise plan, some simple tips will help you get more physical activity and live a healthier life.
Tip #1 – Be safe
Making any changes to your physical activity and exercise should be discussed with your doctor or healthcare provider. Things to talk about with them:
- What exercises are safe for you.
- What your goals are.
- How to avoid injuries, especially if it’s new activities.
- Drink plenty of water and carry snacks (carbs) in case blood sugars drop.
- When to stop or take breaks, like feeling shaky or weak, sweating more than normal, etc.
Tip #2 – Make it fun
If you don’t like running, don’t go running. If you like dancing, make plans to go dancing! Do what you enjoy.
- Make a list of fun activities and try new things.
- Bring a friend if you are a social person.
- Set realistic goals with new activities.
- Incorporate your kids and family into exercises and activities.
Tip #3 – Don’t overdo it
Start slowly because any increase in activity or exercise is good! Trying too much too soon could cause injury or burnout. Try these ways to be successful:
- Start with 10 minutes. If are active already, add 10 minutes to your routine. If you aren’t physically activity, start with a 10-minute activity.
- Increase activity slowly until you are active 30 minutes a day.
- Stop physical activities if you are hurt or in any pain and be sure to wear appropriate shoes.
- Rest days are important. Take a short walk or do some stretching on rest days.
Tips #4 – Remember the benefits for extra motivation
Exercising isn’t just great for your physical health. Here are other benefits to physical activity:
- Exercise reduces stress.
- Physical activity increases energy and improves your mood.
- Physical activity can cut LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Exercise helps your body naturally use insulin, helping control blood sugar.
- Even moderate, daily activity can reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.
Living a healthy life means a balance with diet, exercise, and any medications your doctor prescribes to manage your diabetes. Making small changes over time is the best way to be successful with lifestyle changes.
A diabetes diagnosis is a big transition for the person diagnosed and their family. As part of your support team, along with your family and friends, NOAH will help make changes easier to stick to. We are here to be part of your team to a healthy life.
Read our other diabetes topics:
Healthy Diet for Diabetes
A healthy lifestyle can make a big impact for people living with diabetes. Diabetes can be managed and treated with medicine, but these tips for healthy eating and other daily changes are just as important.
Eating for Diabetes
First, understand that having diabetes means making changes to what you eat and drink. But you can still enjoy delicious food. Here are some tips to help you make good choices and to eat healthier.
Tip #1 – Portions Matter
Portions can be deceiving. Restaurants usually serve much more than a person should eat and even our plates at home are too big which tricks us into filling a big plate with too much food. Get the right amount of food using just your hands or simple measuring cups:
- The palm of your hand – meat, seafood, and poultry
- A cupped hand (½ cup) – pasta, potatoes, chips, and nuts
- Two cupped hands (1 cup) – vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, broccoli, etc.
- A tablespoon – fats like butter or olive oil
- About 1 cup, or a fist – milk, fruit, rice, beans, soups, yogurt
Tip #2 – Swap Your Proteins
Protein is important for a healthy diet, but not all types of protein are the same. Use the portion from Tip #1 – about the size of the palm of your hand – and select the best proteins.
|Best Proteins||Worst Proteins|
|Turkey/lean ground turkey||Porterhouse|
|Pork sirloin||Rib eye steak|
|Shellfish – shrimp, crab||Pork belly|
|Tofu or soy||Hotdogs|
|Yogurt (low sugar or plain)||Bacon|
|Eggs (max 7 yolks/week)||Chorizo|
|Low fat (93/7) ground beef||Corned beef|
|Lean beef cuts – names with “loin” or “round”||Pastrami|
|Beans and lentils||Any fried or breaded meat, chicken, or fish|
Tip #3 – Feel Free to Snack
Snacks are good! Don’t deprive yourself of filling, nutritious, energy-boosting snacks. A few snack-specific tips:
- Snacks are mini meals when it comes to portions.
- Avoid snacking when bored or doing other things.
- Only eat snacks when you are hungry.
If snacks prevent low blood sugars, talk to your doctor or provider. Try these healthy snack options.
- 1/4 cup (1 handful) nuts and a small banana
- 1 small sliced apple with peanut (or other) butter
- 1/3 cup hummus and 1 cup raw vegetables
- 1 cheese quesadilla and 1/4 cup salsa
- 6 oz light yogurt
- 5 whole wheat crackers and 1 piece of string cheese
- 1/2 cup whole grain cereal and 1/2 cup milk
Tip #4 – Not all Drinks are Equal
Don’t let your drink ruin your day. The best drink is always water with zero calories, carbohydrates, or sugar, and your body needs it. Drinks from stores or restaurants can have a lot of sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. Here are tips to healthier beverages:
- Bring your own. Whether it is water, coffee, or something else, if you bring your own you won’t buy something with a lot of sugar and calories.
- Sweeten your own drinks. Don’t buy sweetened tea or coffee. Add your own sugar, or natural substitutes to sweeten it without too much sugar.
- Limit juice. Juice is loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. Either eat a piece of fruit or mix your juice with water.
- Blended coffee and tea lattes may seem okay and taste delicious, but they are made with lots of sugar and heavy creams.
- Smoothies are sneaky. While packed with beneficial fruit they have much more sugar than you think. Make your own smoothies or eat a piece of fruit.
- Soda, pop, Coke, no matter what you call it, they are FULL of sugar. A regular soda has more sugar than two servings of ice cream!
Diabetes will change your life, but together, you can manage a full, delicious life! Work with your NOAH doctor or other provider, nutritionist, family, and support system to make lasting changes that improve your health.
Diabetic Medication Tips
Diabetes will change your life.
To be successful, living with diabetes is a new lifestyle that includes:
- Understanding medications
- Healthy dietary changes
- Increasing or changing activity levels
To manage your diabetes, medication might be required depending on what type and severity of this disease. That’s why understanding how your medications work, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and being comfortable discussing everything with your healthcare team is so important.
People living with type 1 diabetes use insulin. But, diabetic medications are not one-size-fits-all, so don’t be surprised if you are prescribed one medication, several medications, or if they change over time. There are different types of insulin and your doctor will discuss the differences and how yours will work.
Type 2 diabetes is typically controlled initially through meal planning, exercise, and weight loss. However, sometimes medication is needed to bring down blood sugar levels as a next step. Injectable insulin and oral medications (pills) for type 2 diabetes all work differently to lower blood sugar.
Your medication is just one part of your overall treatment plan, but it is a very important part. Always ask questions and bring any concerns to your doctor and care team.
Questions to Ask Your Medical Provider
Whether it is you or a loved one who is diagnosed with diabetes, it will change your life. Being successful at living a full and healthy life takes a team approach and your doctor, nutrition team, family, friends, and others will work together. Everyone brings something valuable – from treatments and medications, to supporting a more active lifestyle and diet changes.
The medical team helping you or your loved one understand their diagnosis and treat diabetes will be a critical part of the care team. This team can include:
- primary care physician
- care coordinators
- behavioral health counselors
Everyone brings something valuable to help navigate life, food, medications, activities, and more. When you work with your medical team, be sure to get all the information and answers you need.
Questions to Ask About Your Doctor:
Before any appointment with your doctor or medical team, prepare your questions. Write them down or record them on your phone so you get your questions answered. NOAH also uses MyChart for consistent patient-to-provider communications when needed and is responsive to calls or emails in-between appointments.
Here is a list of questions to ask your provider to get you started.
- What type of diabetes do I have? Type 1 or 2?
- How do I check my blood sugar?
- Do I have to check my blood sugar with a finger stick and a number?
- What is a good blood sugar?
- What is or should be the number on the machine (Glucometer)?
- Why is this number important?
- What is an A1c?
- Do I have to take insulin?
- Is there a pill option?
- Why do I have to have my eyes checked?
- What should I expect?
- Why do I need to check my feet?
- How do I do this? (for anything you aren’t certain of)
- Do I need to take medication the rest of my life?
- What are my options?
Take a notebook or keep track of questions and answers in your phone or device when you see your doctor. Patient notes may become available in your MyChart account, or you can ask your provider about the note you discussed.
The important thing is to make sure you know everything you need to be healthy and successful at living with diabetes. If you aren’t sure about something, ask. Your care team wants you to be the expert and will help you get there.