Diabetic New Year’s resolutions: Keeping them

If you have diabetes, start by reviewing your past year.

Starting off the New Year by making personal resolutions is a time honored tradition with many Americans. However, by February many of these promises have fallen by the wayside. What can diabetics do to create lasting changes? Start by reviewing your past year.

A solid review of the past years habits can identify areas where you may need to make some changes—a good starting point for sticking to your New Year’s resolution(s). If you are a diabetic and your goal is to improve your health, Michigan State University Extension recommends you evaluate the following:

  • What were your A1C’s this past year? Your A1C number is an average of what your blood sugar levels have been over the past three months. Was your number low enough for your doctor, or do you need to make some changes? If your A1C was consistently high during 2012, start with a visit to your doctor to update the number and ask for advice on lowering it. Following your diet plan and taking prescribed medication will help this resolution.
  • Was your blood pressure in a normal range? Are you following your doctor’s advice including eating plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, avoiding sodium and being active?
  • Did you have your cholesterol checked in 2012? Do you know your LDL number? Following a healthy diet, avoiding saturated fats and getting plenty of activity will help lower this number.
  • Do you know your albumin level? If not, an appointment to see your doctor can let you know whether or not your kidneys are in good shape.
  • Are you engaging in some form of physical activity every day? Your goal should be 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least five days a week. Consult with your physician about appropriate exercise.
  • Do you need to learn more about diabetes? Ask your doctor for a referral to diabetes educations classes that may be held at local hospitals. Michigan State University Extension is also a resource in most Michigan communities that offers a schedule of diabetes classes, such as Dining with Diabetes and others.

After reviewing these questions, pick one or two where you need to either find an answer, or start paying more attention to your daily health care. Some choices may help you resolve multiple issues. Adding more vegetables to your daily meal plan will help lower your blood sugar, as well as your blood pressure and may even lead to that time honored New Year’s resolution: Losing the unwanted weight.

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