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Diabetes Over 50

Tips to better control your diabetes

Veteran and partner coming home with groceries As we get older, our activities and health may have changed since we were younger. It's always important to review treatment goals and how to achieve them. Eating healthy and exercising are still keys to success, especially for weight loss.

You may also start new medications. Make sure you talk to your health care team and discuss the potential benefits and harms of each prescription. Use Shared Decision Making so that your preferences are known.

Here are a few steps you can take to keep your diabetes under control in your 50s.

Changing

When it comes to your health, you have to reassess. Change can be hard, but make sure you try to do more of the following:

  1. Getting regular exercise that is best for you

  2. Eating healthy, fresh foods, and what nutrition strategy may be best for you.

  3. Reassessing medications

Make sure that you're keeping your blood pressure under control, getting checkups for your eyes, feet, and kidneys, and recommended immunizations.

Regulate your blood sugar

Managing your blood sugar isn't an easy job, but it's one of the most important things to do when you have diabetes. The higher your blood sugar levels, the higher your chances of developing certain conditions, like neuropathy.

Low blood sugar can cause problems too. It's necessary to know your target blood sugar range and talk with your health care team if you're having trouble keeping your levels steady. If you're taking insulin, be aware of symptoms and consider if target ranges need to be changed.

Your diet is important

Maintaining a healthy weight can sometimes be tough and having diabetes doesn't make it any easier. The amount of food you eat doesn't only affect your weight, it also affects your blood sugar. To fight weight gain and manage blood sugar levels, follow these simple ways to build your healthy eating plan:

  • Eat three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

  • Try non-starchy vegetables (carrots, green peppers, broccoli, celery, or a combination)

  • Eat more fiber and fewer carbohydrates (whole-grain bread, dry beans, and/or brown rice)

  • Limit your sweets and alcohol (ice cream, candy, liquor, and/or beer)

  • Track your meals (you'll be surprised by what you eat, and how much)

Keep in mind that you don't have to give up the foods you like. Just eat them in moderation and follow some guidelines. Contact a VA Dietitian to build a plan that works for you.

Know your medication

Having a routine can help keep your blood sugar steady. Taking medicine for diabetes every day may seem like a lot, but your medication can be a powerful tool to stay in control of your health. Your prescriptions will work better if you track them and take them when you're supposed to. If you have questions about your medication, contact your health care team via Secure Messaging (sign in required).

Make sure you and your health care team closely monitor your medications for any side effects. As you make these changes, use My HealtheVet's Track Health feature to monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol, and food journal to keep track of what you're eating. Using these tools, along with making a few changes, will help you manage your diabetes.


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