Diabetes can be controlled by keeping blood sugar levels within a normal range, eating well and being physically active. Find out what your targets are from your healthcare provider.

What can you do to take control of your diabetes?

  • Make healthy food choices; eat smaller portions and less fat, and spread carbohydrates (bread, fruit, milk) throughout the day.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose some weight so you can better use insulin.
  • See a dietitian for a meal plan that works for you.
  • Increase physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes every day.
  • Take medications as prescribed. Most people with type 2 diabetes need several medicines to control blood glucose; those with type 1 diabetes must take insulin.
  • Check blood glucose regularly and discuss the results with your healthcare team.

How can you prevent diabetes complications?

High blood glucose can hurt your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves and feet.

  • Discuss your glucose monitoring, A1C, blood pressure and lipid results with your healthcare provider.
  • Take your diabetes, blood pressure and lipid medications as prescribed.
  • Have an annual dilated eye exam to prevent vision loss.
  • Have an annual microalbumin urine test to check for kidney problems.
  • Check your feet daily for cracks, sores and redness and report problems to your healthcare provider.
  • Carry treatment for low blood glucose if you take medication that lowers your blood glucose.
  • Stop smoking to prevent heart, eye and kidney disease.
  • Get a flu shot every year.
  • Wear medical identification in case of an emergency.
  • Keep appointments with your provider.
  • See your dentist twice a year.

How do you know if your diabetes treatment plan is working?

Aim to keep your numbers at or as close to your targets as possible. The goals for most people with diabetes are:

  • A1C (average blood glucose for the past 3 months): less than 7%
  • Blood glucose: 70 to 130 before meals; less than 180 two hours after meals
  • Blood pressure: at or below 140/90
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol: less than 100 or less than 70 if history of heart disease
  • Kidney function tests:
    • Microalbumin - less than 30
    • GFR (Glomerular filtration rate) – greater than 60

Although this content is reviewed by Joslin Diabetes Center healthcare professionals, it is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.