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Whittington Health NHSUCL

How can I take care of myself?

Women drinking tea and chatting in a kitchenTaking care of your diabetes is really important and can help you lead a healthy, happy life. It can also reduce your risk of developing other health problems. Some important steps you can take include:

  • Keeping well. It is important to keep physically and mentally well, which may include getting vaccinations like the flu injection and talking about your issues and concerns with specialist healthcare professionals. Being happy as well as healthy is really important.
  • Regular physical activity. Regular physical activity is important in managing diabetes; it will help to keep your weight and glucose levels down and your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Physical activity also lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Stopping smoking. Smoking increases your chances of having a heart attack or a stroke and makes circulation problems worse. If you have diabetes, your risk of these problems is already higher, so stopping smoking will help you to reduce your risk of developing them.
  • Eating healthily. A healthy diet is an important part of managing your weight. Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major cause of heart disease. A healthy diet can also keep your blood glucose and cholesterol under control.
  • Alcohol in moderation. Sensible drinking applies to everyone. However, it is particularly important if you have diabetes to monitor how much alcohol you consume, as alcohol can cause changes to glucose levels. Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Attending regular reviews. Regular health checks with your healthcare team will allow you to discuss your symptoms and concerns. Reviews are also important to receive regular checks of your blood, urine, cholesterol, blood glucose, eyes, feet and nerves.
  • Keep control. Keeping good control over your blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure can make a huge difference to your risk of experiencing any diabetes related complications.

Learning to self-manage

This 3-minute video will help you understand the most important aspects of looking after your diabetes.
To play this video you will need audio and you may need the Flash plug-in. If you’d like to watch them full screen, move your cursor to the bottom right of each video and click the expand buttonExpand .

Read more about how to look after your diabetes in the staying healthy section.