Living With Diabetes

Living With Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you have a higher chance of:
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • 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

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