One in every ten people in the United States have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Living with diabetes can be overwhelming at times, but with the right care plan, management can become a little easier. Sharmila Matippa, MD, an internal medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group shares some tips on how to live well with diabetes.

Lower Your Stress

Stress can be a risk factor for high blood sugar. Whether you’re stressed at work or at home, create ways to lower your stress levels. Find an activity or hobby that you enjoy and helps to calm you. This could include:

  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Listening to music
  • Reading
  • Going for a walk
  • Deep breathing techniques

Eat Well

Talk with your doctor to create a meal plan that is right for you. Include foods that are lower in calories, carbohydrates, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and salt. Aim to eat foods that are high in fiber, fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk and cheeses. Focus on portion sizes. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and another quarter with a carb. Some ideas for healthy food options include:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Albacore tuna
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Beans
  • Berries

Stay Active

“Staying active helps to keep you healthy which will also allow you to bounce back faster after being sick and keep your blood sugar lower,” says Dr. Matippa. Find an activity that you enjoy and move for at least 30 minutes a day. Try walking, riding a bike, running or swimming, anything that keeps you moving. Alternate activities a couple times a week, so your entire body gets a work out. Dr. Matippa adds, “if the idea of adding exercise to your routine is overwhelming, start small. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, schedule in a quick walk during the day and work up to 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Take Care of Yourself

Keeping yourself healthy is a key part to making sure your diabetes does not get out of control or cause other health issues. Get into a daily routine that helps you take control of your health.

  • Track and monitor your blood sugar throughout the day
  • Take your medications as directed
  • Check your feet for cuts, sores and swelling
  • Brush your teeth and floss daily

Visit your Care Team

With diabetes, it is important to stay on top of your health, so no other health issues arise. Visit your doctor and care team at least twice a year to ensure your health is on track. “You are the most important member of your health team; ask questions and make sure the care plan your doctor helps create is one that works for you,” explains Dr. Matippa. “If something isn’t working, be sure to tell them.” When you go to the doctor, be sure to have your:

  • Blood pressure checked
  • Feet checked
  • Weight checked
  • Self-care plan reviewed

Enroll in a Diabetes Education Program

Adventist HealthCare offers an accredited Diabetes Education Program to those with prediabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Through the education program, you will have access to support groups and classes with certified diabetes educators who will give you tips to help keep you in control of your diabetes. A program designed around your journey with diabetes can help you find support from others and even help your family learn more about diabetes.

Sharmila Matippa, MD

Sharmila Matippa, MD

Sharmila Matippa, MD, is a family medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group in Rockville, MD.

Need help finding a doctor? Adventist Medical Group offers Primary and Specialty Care at over 10 locations.