1. Learning to live with diabetes
It is important to know what diabetes is, the main care and to make the necessary changes for good control. The person with diabetes and their family members should receive diabetes education and emotional support. Emphasizing the importance of the role of the diabetes educator and the commitment to the education of the person as an indispensable tool to facilitate self-care, adherence to treatment and metabolic control.
2. Adapting the diet
Diet is a fundamental part of diabetes control and contributes to delaying or avoiding the onset of complications. The diet of the person with diabetes is similar to that of any other person: food should be distributed throughout the day, i.e., between 3 to 5 meals according to personal characteristics and treatment pattern (breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner), avoiding meals with a high amount of carbohydrates or that are rapidly absorbed, since they raise glucose levels considerably. The care of food is part of your treatment, therefore, we cannot talk about types of food and quantities without also talking about the physical activity you do, the medications you take or whether or not you suffer from other diseases such as cholesterol or hypertension. In short, it is a set of factors that should be considered globally and that make each person with diabetes have a unique and personalized diet, which should be prepared with the support of the health team.
3. Maintain adequate hydration
People with diabetes are at an increased risk of dehydration because high blood glucose levels cause the kidneys to try to eliminate it in the form of urine. For this reason, people with diabetes are often thirstier when hyperglycemia occurs. Water should be the foundation of hydration for a person with diabetes. There are other beverages that help improve hydration such as natural juices or juices without added sugars, "light" or "zero" soft drinks that contain sweeteners instead of sugar and therefore do not increase blood sugar, sports drinks or infusions, but always occasionally.
4. Regular exercise
The practice of physical exercise is one of the fundamental pillars of the treatment of diabetes and prevents the associated complications. Its benefits occur at many other levels: it improves blood pressure, cholesterol and cardiovascular function. The type of exercise and intensity should be adapted to the age and physical condition of each person with diabetes.
5. Check glucose levels frequently and in a structured way.
The analysis of blood glucose levels carried out by the person or a family member makes it possible to know the blood glucose figures at any time and to detect possible acute complications, hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) or hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). It is recommended to perform between 5 and 6 controls per day, before each meal and before going to bed to have information and adjust the insulin regimen or the treatment in general, if necessary. If exercise is practiced, it is recommended to perform an analysis before the start of the activity, some extra measurement while practicing long duration exercise, as well as once finished.
6. Acting quickly in the event of hypoglycemia
It is common during hypoglycemia to eat uncontrollably and with great voracity. This leads to a total carbohydrate intake higher than the indicated grams, which is usually the cause of a rebound or hyperglycemia in the following hours.
7. Avoid the complications of diabetes.
It is important to maintain blood glucose levels at the optimal level before and after meals. It is also necessary to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
8. Perform ophthalmologic check-ups.
It is essential that people with diabetes have regular check-ups, especially of the state of the retina, to prevent, detect and successfully treat any type of complication.
9. Take care of the feet
People with diabetes may have alterations in sensitivity and circulation. It is important to carry out a daily inspection of the feet checking the absence of lesions and to visit the podiatrist regularly.
10. Be adherent with medication.
Medication is a part of the treatment that together with diet and exercise are fundamental pillars, so it is necessary to agree and follow the recommendations that are prescribed together with health professionals. Insulin is the pharmacological basis in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, and different oral drugs and/or insulin in type 2 diabetes.