Here is a summary of the guidelines that will help you manage your diabetes for a lifetime of good health:

  1. Plan what you eat and follow a balanced meal plan. See your dietitian at least once a year.
  2. Exercise at least five times a week for 30 minutes each session. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. Tell your doctor what kind of exercise you want to do so adjustments can be made to your medicine schedule or meal plan, if necessary.
  3. Follow your medicine schedule as prescribed by your doctor.
  4. Know what medicines (brand and generic names) you are taking and how they work. Keep a list of your medicines with you at all times.
  5. Test your blood glucose regularly, as recommended by your health care provider. Test your blood glucose more often when you're sick.
  6. Try to continuously keep your blood glucose level at the recommended range. If your blood glucose is less than 70 mg/dl and you have more than one unexplained low blood glucose reaction a week, call your doctor. If your blood glucose is greater than 160 mg/dl for more than a week or if you have two consecutive readings greater than 300 mg/dl, call your doctor.
  7. Contact your doctor when your blood glucose is over 300 mg/dl. Test your urine for ketones if recommended by your doctor.
  8. Record your blood glucose and urine ketone test results in a recordkeeping log. Bring your log book with you to all of your doctor's visits.
  9. Keep your scheduled appointments with your health care providers. See your doctor at least every three to four months for regular check-ups if you are treated with insulin. See your doctor every four to six months if you are treated with other diabetes medicines or if you are managing diabetes with diet and exercise alone. More frequent visits might be necessary if your blood glucose is not controlled or if complications of diabetes are progressing. Make sure your health care provider checks your blood pressure and weight, and examines your feet and insulin injection sites.
  10. Have a glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c) at least two times a year or more frequently as recommended by your doctor.
  11. Have an eye exam (including a retinopathy screening test) and urinalysis test once a year, or as recommended by your doctor. (Your doctor might request that you have these tests more frequently.)
  12. Have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked (lipid profile test) once a year.
  13. Have a dental exam every six months.
  14. If you have any signs of infection, call your doctor or health care provider.
  15. Practice good foot and skin care.
  17. Try to manage stress as best as you can. You might think about attending a stress management workshop to help you learn better coping methods.
  18. Discuss your travel plans with your doctor. Make sure to bring enough medicine and supplies with you on your trip. Keep medicines, syringes, and blood glucose testing supplies in your carry-on bag. Do not check these supplies in case your luggage is lost.
  19. Continue learning about your diabetes to maintain and improve your health. Attend a diabetes class or schedule visits with your diabetes educator at least once a year.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/15/2015.

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