7 Principles for Controlling Your Diabetes for Life 7 Principles for Controlling Your Diabetes for Life
Source: The National Diabetes Education Program

Principle 1: Find Out What Type of Diabetes You Have

Type 1 diabetes. People who have this type of diabetes need to take insulin every day. This type of diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes can often be controlled by the food you eat and regular physical activity. Some people may also need to take diabetes pills or insulin. This type of diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes.

Risk Factors for Diabetes. Are you at risk for diabetes?

Being older than 45

Being overweight

Having a close family member, like a parent, brother, or sister, who has, or had, diabetes

Having had diabetes when you were pregnant

Being African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or Native American.

Action Items:

> Find out from your doctor what type of diabetes you have.

> If you know someone who has any of the risk factors, tell them to ask their doctor about getting tested for diabetes.

Principle 2: Get Regular Care for Your Diabetes

People with diabetes should:

Always receive high-quality care.

Work with health care providers to make changes to their treatment plan when needed.

See a doctor, diabetes educator, or a nutritionist on a regular basis.

Be able to get their health care needs taken care of regardless of their race, age, disability, or ability to pay.

Get support from family, friends, and coworkers.

Be able to get car insurance and a driver’s license.

Be treated fairly at work.

Be able to get Medicare to help pay for diabetes supplies if they are on Medicare.

You have the right to get the best health care to help you control your diabetes.

Action Items:

> Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need to see them for a checkup.

> Write down the date and time for your next visit.

> Ask your doctor or clinic staff to help you find resources if you have problems paying for food, medicines, and medical supplies.

> Make a list of things you want to talk about at your next visit to the doctor or clinic.

Principle 3: Learn How To Control Your Diabetes

You and your family have the right to get correct information from your doctor and other health care providers to help you learn how to control your diabetes.

How Active Are You in Controlling Your Diabetes?

I ask my doctor for accurate information about my diabetes.

I have talked with my doctor about referrals to other people, like nutritionists and diabetes educators.

I ask the diabetes educator and nutritionist about diet and other ways to control my diabetes.

I talk to my doctor regularly about my special needs and controlling my diabetes.

If you have done everything on the list above, you are taking an active role in learning how to control your diabetes.

Action Items:

> If you have not done everything on the list, ask your doctor about things that you should do to learn more about how to control your diabetes.

> Ask your doctor about where to go to learn more about diabetes and how to control it.

Principle 4: Treat High Blood Sugar

The number 1 goal of diabetes treatment is to control high blood sugar levels.

Some of the ways that this can be done are:

Eating a healthy diet

Getting regular physical activity

Taking medicine for your diabetes if your doctor tells you to

Testing your blood sugar.

Action Items:

> Talk to your doctor about the best ways to control your high blood sugar.

> Get involved in making a treatment plan and other decisions about your diabetes care.

Principle 5: Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level

Testing Your Own Blood Sugar
You may need to test your own blood sugar on a regular basis to help you control your diabetes.

Action Items:

Talk with your health care provider about:

> What type of test to use

> How to do the test the right way

> How often to test

> How often to report the test results

> Getting the supplies you need to do the tests.

Hemoglobin A-1-c Testing
A hemoglobin A-1-c test is done by your doctor. It measures how well your blood sugar has been controlled over the last 2 to 3 months. This test is very important because it tells you how well you are taking care of your diabetes.

Action Items:

Ask your doctor or nurse educator:

> What your last hemoglobin A-1-c test result was.

> What your target hemoglobin A-1-c test result should be.

Principle 6: Prevent and Diagnose Long-Term Diabetes Problems

People with diabetes must control their blood sugar levels to prevent problems.

Long-term complications of diabetes are:

Eye disease

Kidney disease

Nerve damage

Heart disease and stroke

Action Items:

Some of the tests that you should get on a regular basis include:

> Blood pressure checks

> Cholesterol tests

> Other blood fat tests (ask your doctor what tests you should have).

Remember:

To help control and manage your diabetes, you should also:

Eat a healthy diet

Take medicine if your doctor tells you to

Get regular physical activity

Get regular foot and eye exams

Work with your health care providers to do these things.

Principle 7: Get Checked for Long-Term Problems and Treat Them

To check for problems that diabetes can cause, you should see your doctor or other health care providers on a regular basis. Doing this can prevent problems or find them early, when they can be treated and managed well.

Action Items:

Ask your doctor or other health care providers about how often you should have your:

> Feet checked

> Eyes tested

> Kidneys tested.

Ask your doctor or other health care providers about other tests you may also need to have.

Related Publications

For additional information on the topics discussed above, see the following publications:

Types of Diabetes and Risk Factors

Control your Diabetes. For Life. Tips for Feeling Better and Staying Healthy (NDEP-8)

7 Principles for Controlling Your Diabetes for Life (NDEP-17)

How Medicare Can Help Pay for Your Diabetes

The power to control diabetes is in your hands (NDEP-38) Print version (PDF* 484k)

Treating and Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level

You Have Diabetes, Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers (NDEP-10) Print version (PDF* 508k)

I Have Diabetes: How Much Should I Eat? (DM-176)

I Have Diabetes: What Should I Eat? (DM-177)

I Have Diabetes: When Should I Eat? (DM-178)

Medicines for People with Diabetes (DM-179)

Preventing and Diagnosing Long-Term Diabetes Problems

Control your Diabetes. For Life. Tips for Feeling Better and Staying Healthy (NDEP-8)

I Have Diabetes: How Much Should I Eat? (DM-176)

I Have Diabetes: What Should I Eat? (DM-177)

I Have Diabetes: When Should I Eat? (DM-178)

Medicines for People with Diabetes (DM-179)

Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime (NDEP-4)

Prevent Diabetes Problems Series (DM-203 through DM-209)

Check-ups and Treatments

Control your Diabetes. For Life. Tips for Feeling Better and Staying Healthy (NDEP-8)

Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime (NDEP-4)

Prevent Diabetes Problems Series (DM-203 through DM-209)


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