4 tips to managing your diabetes in Colorado
Diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the United States — with more than 400,000 people in Colorado alone.* Even though diabetes is a lifelong condition, you can live a healthy life by taking action. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, have been living with it for some time, or simply want to prevent it, there are steps you can take every day.
According to Sue Heikkinen, registered dietitian with Kaiser Permanente, small changes can lead to big results.
“Sometimes feeling overwhelmed can lead to inaction,” Heikkinen says. “Being successful with a small change, such as eating from a smaller plate or bringing healthy snacks to work, can help build the confidence to move forward with more changes.”
4 ways you can manage diabetes
1. Choose healthy food
Making smart food choices can improve your mood and help you manage your weight. Try eating smaller portion sizes and eat high-fiber foods to keep you fuller longer. Set yourself up for success by keeping healthy choices like fruit and pre-cut vegetables available and visible in your home so you reach for the smarter meal or snack. And bring a healthy meal to work or a potluck.
2. Exercise regularly
Physical activity can help you manage your weight and lower your blood sugar. Work toward a goal of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day. With all the outdoor options Colorado has to offer, it’s easy to find a place for a walk or a hike. Or try something new, like a bike ride or outdoor yoga class.
“People often tell me their mood is lifted after they go for a short walk or that they feel less sluggish when they skip extra helpings at dinner,” says Heikkinen. “Meeting weight loss and blood sugar goals takes time, but feeling better can happen quickly.”
3. Take your prescribed diabetes medication
Taking your prescribed medication is an important part of managing your health. Get familiar with your medications – know your prescription name, dosage, and how the medication affects you. Having trouble remembering to take your doses on time? Consider using a pill box with the days of the week or download an app on your phone to remind you
4. Keep your blood sugar in target range
Work with your doctor to understand your appropriate blood sugar and A1C (average blood sugar over a 3-month period) ranges. Knowing where your blood sugar should be will help you monitor and manage it.
Resources to help you take charge
You aren’t alone in managing your diabetes — your doctor is with you every step of the way. And Kaiser Permanente has various resources to help you take charge of your health.
Visit kp.org/diabetes to learn more about the basics of living healthier with diabetes. You can even take an assessment to determine if you may be at risk. And Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s Nutrition Services team offers webinars, in-person classes, and individualized nutrition counseling. Check out all the resources they have to offer.
For more information or to schedule an appointment or phone consult with a registered dietitian in Colorado, call the Appointment and Advice Contact Center at:
Northern/Mountain Colorado: 970-207-7171
Southern Colorado: 1-800-218-1059
*American Diabetes Association, accessed September 21, 2018.