4 doctor-approved steps to help manage type 2 diabetes in Northern California
Managing type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming sometimes. From testing your blood sugar to keeping track of your medications and what you eat, it can feel like a struggle to keep it all under control.
“With diabetes, people have a lot of self-blame,” says Anna Cosyleon, MD, a Kaiser Permanente physician lead for diabetes and hypertension in Colorado. “I try to take away the blame.”
Dr. Cosyleon teaches patients 4 basic steps to help control diabetes. When combined, they make an empowering strategy to help manage this condition.
1. Know your numbers
Staying on top of your diabetes can feel like a numbers game. It takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication to stay on top of your blood sugar levels. But “if people know their blood glucose numbers, and what controlled blood glucose is, a sense of failure is replaced by a great sense of success when they make improvements,” says Dr. Cosyleon.
2. Add physical activity to your day
Exercise helps lower blood sugar. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean hours at the gym. You can try activities like salsa dancing, yoga, martial arts, and water aerobics. “You don’t have to run a marathon,” says Dr. Cosyleon. “Find something fun and run with it.” To help track your progress, download an activity app to your smartphone.
3. Have fun with food
Choosing healthy foods is an important step in managing your diabetes. If it’s crunch you crave, ditch chips for carrots and apples. If you have a sweet tooth, reach for fruit when it’s time for dessert. Choose water infused with cucumber, mint, or citrus instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
4. Adopt a team mentality
Remember, you’re not in this alone. Take a diabetes class, join a support group, or meet with a registered dietitian. See your personal physician regularly and ask your family to help you achieve your goals. To find classes on diabetes management, nutrition, and support groups, visit kp.org/classes.*
*Some classes may require a fee.