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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

LANSING — November is National Diabetes Awareness month. Make this the time to review your diabetes care plan. Did you get the all the recommended tests and exams this year? Are you having any problems like blood sugar being too high or problems seeing well? Below are things that you can do to stay healthy and avoid or treat diabetes related complications.

1. Take your medications as directed. If you have problems with side effects or can’t afford your meds, talk with your pharmacist and provider about different options. Medications, for most people with diabetes, are important for diabetes, blood pressure and/or cholesterol control.

2. Have a meal plan that works for you and your diabetes. There is NO such thing as a diabetes diet. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can help you develop a plan that works for you.

3. Be active. Find time to walk and stretch and strengthen your muscles. Chair exercises are an option people who have difficulty getting around. Just find some way to move your body, and work toward getting 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. (It doesn’t have to be all at once.)

4. Know your numbers. Certain numbers for your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol help to keep you safe and lowers your chances of eye and kidney problems and having a heart attack or stroke. Ask your doctor what your numbers are and if they are safe for you.

5. Get your immunizations: Flu and pneumonia can make people with diabetes very sick; some also die. Your best protection is to get a flu shot once a year and make sure you have had your pneumonia shots. Adults 60 years old or younger should also have hepatitis shots.

6. Check your blood sugar: This is especially important if you take insulin and need to know how to adjust your insulin based on your blood sugar numbers or the amount of food you plan to eat. It also tells you if your blood sugar is in a safe range or if you need to take action to raise or lower your blood sugar.

7. Check your feet everyday: Make sure you feet have no cuts or sores, especially if you have been told that you have nerve damage in your feet or if you have a history of foot ulcers. Also, someone on your health team should do a foot exam at least once a year.

8. Get a dilated eye exam: Most will need a diabetes eye exam (where you have eye drops in your eye to make your pupils big) every year.

9. Get a kidney test every year: A urine and a blood test are needed to check your kidneys. This will let you know if your kidneys are healthy.

10. Share your concerns (such as financial, emotional, medication problems, complications of diabetes) with your health care team: They can help you with the problems you are facing.

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