Staying Healthy: Things You Need To Do
What You Should Know About Staying Healthy
Diabetes is a complex disease. It affects over 40 thousand Vermonters. If you are one of them you probably know that it’s a 24/7 job.
Managing diabetes can be tricky, but there are many good resources and treatments to help keep you healthy. Most importantly you are in charge of managing your diabetes.
This means that you need to learn all you can about diabetes, how to control your blood sugar and how to prevent complications that occur from poorly controlled diabetes.
What To Do
- Take a Comprehensive Diabetes Education Course. These courses are taught by certified diabetes educators - medical professionals who have special training in diabetes management. These courses are offered in all parts of the state. Ask your medical provider how to find the one nearest you, check www.vpqhc.org/VTADE and select community resources, or see Vermont diabetes education resources on this site.
- Have your Hemoglobin A1c (A-1-c) checked every 3-6 months. Goal: less than 7%.
- Schedule a yearly dilated eye exam.
- Have a complete foot exam every year.
- Have your blood pressure checked at every visit. Goal: less than 130/80.
- Have your urine checked each year for microalbumin (for kidney disease).
- Have your cholesterol and triglycerides checked each year. Goal: LDL less than 100 mg/dl; HDL cholesterol greater than 40 for men, 50 for women; triglycerides less than 150 mg/dl.
- Schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian.
- See your dentist every six months.
- Check your blood sugar regularly.
- Be physically active at least 30 minutes a day.
- Eat healthy foods and be at a healthy weight for you.
- Get your influenza shot each year.
- Get a pneumonia shot.
- If you smoke, QUIT.
- Ask your medical provider about whether you should take aspirin each day.
Diabetes and heart disease go hand in hand. Know the ABCs of diabetes and be smart about your heart.
- A is for A1C, short for hemoglobin A1c. Goal: below 7
- B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard. Goal: below 130/80
- C is for cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your arteries. Goal: below 100
“‘Have a great vacation.’
“I learned my lesson the hard way but I won’t forget it. My wife, Barbara, and I like to travel. I’ve had diabetes for a long time and I know I can travel and be active as long as I’m careful and monitor my blood sugar. So for our 25th anniversary, we went on a one-week cruise with some friends.
“At first I was checking my blood sugar faithfully. But that got tiresome and embarrassing—always having to find a bathroom or go back to our cabin to test my blood. I started taking chances. I ate at odd times. I didn’t miss any of my doses of medicine, though. I just wasn’t paying attention to what was going on. Not keeping things in balance was a mistake, as I found out when I almost passed out on the dance floor. Barb knew right away what had happened and insisted I eat some candy.
Then things snowballed down hill. When we went back to the cabin, Barb helped me take off my new “cruise shoes” and socks. That’s when she saw the blisters. I’m used to wearing sneakers or old, comfortable boots. Those new dress shoes did me in. Of course the blisters didn’t hurt, so if she hadn’t seen them they would have gotten even worse.
“It took months for my feet to heal, but I was lucky. I’ll be traveling again soon, and this time I’ll put my health first.
“You just can’t take that long a vacation from taking care of yourself.”
This guide is not a substitute for the judgment of trained professionals. If you are a person with diabetes you should seek care from a qualified practitioner.