Living With Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you have a higher chance of:
- Heart Disease
- Nerve Damage
- Eye Problems and blindness
- Kidney Disease
- Early Death
Getting your blood sugar under control is important — but not enough. It’s also important to control blood pressure and cholesterol.
Diabetes is a serious disease — but you can still live a long and healthy life! Here’s what you need to know.
Things You Can Do to Stay Healthy
To lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol:
Be physically active.
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as a brisk walk) at least 5 days a week.
- Get off the bus or subway a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Walk during your lunch break.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Put on some music and dance.
- Do household chores such as vacuuming and mopping.
Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Eat less fat, sugar, and salt.
- Drink water or try seltzer or diet drinks instead of sugar-sweetened soda or juice.
- Limit candy, sweets, chips, and fried food.
- Cook more meals at home.
Other things you can do:
- Check your blood sugar at the times your doctor recommends.
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Wear comfortable shoes. Look at your feet every night for sores.
- Brush and floss your teeth every day.
- Quit smoking — call 311 for free help or talk with your doctor.
Taking Your Medicine
Take your medicines as written on your health medicine bottle.
- Even if you don’t feel sick from your diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, it is very important to take your medicine every day.
- Insulin works very well to bring your blood sugar down.
- Insulin needles are very small and easy to use.
- Ask your doctor how much and when to take your medicines.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to make your medicine plan simple.
- Ask your doctor about side effects and tell the doctor if you have any.
How Your Doctor Can Help You Stay Healthy
Your doctor can help you:
Protect your heart and brain by:
- Measuring your blood pressure at each visit. It should be less than 130/80.
- Checking your cholesterol every year. Your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) should be less than 100.
- Checking your 3-month blood sugar level (A1C) at least twice a year. Most people should aim for A1C less than 7%.
Protect your kidneys by:
- Testing your urine to check for kidney disease.
Protect your eyes by:
- Referring to the eye doctor once a year.
Protect your teeth and gums by:
- Referring to the dentist twice a year.
Protect your feet by:
- Checking your feet for feeling and sores. Sores can lead to infection. Infection can lead to amputations.
Talk with your doctors about:
- Physical activity and healthy weight. Beng even a little more physically active — and losing even a few pounds — helps a lot.
- If taking aspirin to protect your heart and brain is right for you.
- Getting a flu shot every year. People with diabetes who get the flu get sicker than those who won’t have diabetes.
- Getting a one-time pneumonia shot.
- Sexual problems.
This post was taken from the Health Bulletin series from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
All Health Bulletins are available at nyc.gov/health.