7 Principles for Good Diabetes Care

These principles, or steps, will help you manage your diabetes and live a long and active life. Every person who has diabetes has different needs. Talk to your health care team about a treatment plan that is best for you. Diabetes affects almost every part of the body and good diabetes care requires a team of health care providers. They include doctors, diabetes educators, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, mental health workers, eye specialists, foot specialists, dentists, and social workers. Print out and take this information with you when you visit your doctor or other members of your team to talk about your treatment plan.

It Is Important to Control Diabetes

Taking good care of diabetes can lower the chances of getting:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • eye disease that can lead to a loss of vision or even blindness
  • nerve damage that may cause a loss of feeling or pain in the hands, feet, legs, or other parts of the body and lead to problems such as lower limb amputation or erectile dysfunction
  • kidney failure
  • gum disease and loss of teeth

As you read through this information, look for things with a Take action to control your diabetes to help you take action to control your diabetes.

Principle 1: Learn as Much as You Can About Diabetes

The more you know about diabetes, the better you can work with your health care team to manage your disease and reduce your risk for problems. You should know what type of diabetes you have. If you do not know, ask your doctor whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes. People who have this type of diabetes need to take insulin every day. This type of diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes.

  • Type 2 diabetes. Diet and daily physical activity help to control type 2 diabetes. Most people also need to take diabetes pills or insulin. Type 2 diabetes is very common and used to be called adult onset diabetes.

Diabetes is always a serious disease. Terms that suggest that diabetes is not serious, such as "a touch of diabetes," "mild diabetes," and "sugar's a little high," are not correct and should no longer be used.

Many People Who Have Diabetes Do Not Know It

Finding and treating diabetes early can prevent health problems later on. Many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms and do not know they have diabetes. Some people are at higher risk for diabetes than others. People at high risk include those who:

  • are older than 45
  • are overweight
  • have a close family member such as a parent, a brother, or a sister who has or had diabetes
  • had diabetes during pregnancy
  • had a baby that weight more than 9 pounds
  • are African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or Native American
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol or other abnormal blood fats
  • are inactive

Take action to control your diabetes Ask your doctor if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Take action to control your diabetes If you know someone who has any of the risk factors for diabetes, suggest they talk to their doctor about getting tested.

Principle 2: Get Regular Care for Your Diabetes
If you have diabetes, it is important to:

  • see your health care team regularly
  • make sure your treatment plan is working. If it is not, ask your health care team to help you change it
  • ask your family, friends, and co-workers for help and support when you need it

Work with your health care team to get the best help to control your diabetes.

Take action to control your diabetesAsk your health care team how often you need to see them for check-ups.

Take action to control your diabetesWrite down the date and time for your next visit:

  • Date of my next visit is:____________________

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors