Better Your Odds
Top 30 Tips For Managing Diabetes and Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
- Get off to a winning start with the "Better Your Odds" Action Plan at www.getserious.ca. Even if you don't have diabetes, the action plan can cut your risk of heart disease.
- Manage your blood glucose levels: an A1C of 7% or below is recommended. Keep levels in check with a healthy meal plan, active lifestyle, and in some cases medication.
- Talk to your health team about using a blood glucose meter.
- Ask your local Canadian Diabetes Association if your province or territory subsidizes the cost of blood glucose monitoring supplies.
- You may have pre-diabetes, if your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not at the diabetes diagnosis level. Good health management can cut heart disease risk and avoid or delay type 2 diabetes.
- Manage your cholesterol levels. Follow the new lipid (blood fats) guidelines. LDL cholesterol target is 2.0 mmol/L or lower and the new total cholesterol/HDL target is less than 4.0.
- Have blood lipids measured when first diagnosed with diabetes, and then every 1 to 3 years or more often. Lifestyle management is important to managing levels, but medications may also be prescribed.
- Keep your cholesterol in check - watch what's on your plate. Use spices and herbs to boost flavour without fat. For dips or sauce, use salsa instead of gravy or cream-based sauces.
- Even if you don't have diabetes, cut your cardiovascular risk by keeping tabs on lipid levels and by following good lifestyle practices.
- Are you overweight? A weight loss of just 5 to 10% can improve your lipid profile. Reduce your risks with regular exercise and a well-balanced meal plan.
- Manage your blood pressure. Aim to be at or below 130/80. Good lifestyle management plays a key role. In addition to exercise and healthy meal plan recommendations with lots of vegetables and fruit, you may also be advised to limit salt and alcohol.
- Don't rely on lifestyle changes alone to manage blood pressure. Medication is also a common "must" to reduce and maintain healthy levels.
- Even if you don't have diabetes, keeping blood pressure under control is important for overall health, and reduces cardiovascular risk.
- If you smoke, start a program to quit. If you have diabetes and smoke, you are three times more likely to die of heart disease or stroke than people without diabetes.
- Eat breakfast. You're less likely to over-eat or indulge in fatty snacks later in the day.
- Manage your weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will help you control blood glucose, blood fats, and blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- If you have diabetes, ask your doctor to refer you to a registered dietitian.
- Eat your way to health with an energy-restricted, well-balanced meal plan that's high in fibre and low in dietary cholesterol, saturated fats, trans fatty acids, and refined carbohydrates.
- Pile more veggies onto your plate. Vegetables are high in nutrients but low in calories.
- Just for today skip the donut with your coffee; drink water instead of pop; walk around the block at lunchtime.
- Find it hard to get enough fruit? Add it to your main meals. Try sliced peach or mango with pork and chicken; toss grapes or berries into salads; or make a fruit salsa to go with a spicy menu.
- Try frozen fruits and berries as a refreshing dessert. Or start your meal with a chilled fruit soup.
- Up your fibre intake by enjoying an orange instead of orange juice; add kidney beans to salads and pastas; choose whole wheat bread over white and toss a handful of frozen peas into pasta dishes, stir-fries and casseroles.
- Go nuts! Add them to salads or grain dishes; toss some in with stir-fries.
- Check out the healthy and tasty recipes at www.getserious.ca. Order a cookbook from the Canadian Diabetes Association. They're chockfull of great ideas on how to eat well.
- Have an annual check up with your doctor, even if you feel fine, especially if you are 40 or older. Many conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, often have no symptoms.
- Whether or not you have diabetes, almost everyone will benefit from regular physical activity. Be creative about integrating physical activity into your life. Instead of going for a coffee with a friend, take a walk together. Instead of watching a video with your kids, take the gang to the skating rink.
- Don't try to change your whole lifestyle in one go. Pick one new healthy habit a week. Ease into the exercise groove. Start with 5 minutes today, and add 5 minutes a day.
- Check out your cardiovascular age. You may be older or younger than you think! Enter your personal information in the quiz available at www.getserious.ca to learn your cardiovascular age, along with valuable facts like the number of years that smoking adds to your age.
- Get serious about diabetes management and prevention today. Type 2 diabetes can be avoided or delayed with good health management and a healthy lifestyle.
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