Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of lives all around the globe. In the United States, 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year. With unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical work, now diabetes is becoming common in children and adolescents. Approximately 193,000 people younger than 20 in the country have been diagnosed with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) noted in 2017 guidelines that self-management and education are crucial for diabetes care.
Diabetes self-management can reduce blood sugar levels, mortality risk, and healthcare costs, as well as weight in people with excess weight.
Strategies that people with diabetes can use every day to improve their health are:
Self-monitoring of insulin levels - Doctors recommend that people using insulin check their glucose levels. The right frequency of these checks varies from person to person, but doctors usually recommend monitoring levels before and after meals, at bedtime, and before exercising.
Maintaining a healthy weight - It is important for people with diabetes or prediabetes to maintain a healthy weight. When doctors closely monitor weight loss progress, a person is more likely to achieve his goals.
Getting good nutrition - Following a meal plan can be the most difficult part of self-management but it’s the most important. It's recommended to develop a plan with a registered dietitian.
Exercise regularly - Research has shown that exercise helps control blood sugar levels.
Stop smoking - ADA advises all people with prediabetes or diabetes to avoid tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
Take medication regularly - Persons not taking regular medication can increase their complications and lower their success rates in self-management.
Diabetes is not curable, but a person can help manage it at home. A person with diabetes or prediabetes should also be physically active and maintain a healthy weight. A diabetes care team can help develop and tailor an exercise plan.
Blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors can help a person track their progress and see the effects of self-management techniques.