Living with Diabetes

Hagerstown Diabetes Education

At Meritus Health, we have created a comprehensive, six-week education and support network to help patients learn how to live with diabetes. While there is not yet a cure for diabetes, we know enough about the disease that people can live long, fulfilling lives as long as they make healthy lifestyle choices.

Diet

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll have to make some changes to the way you eat, but you can still eat the foods you like. Meal planning, portion control and eating a variety of foods is key to controlling your blood sugar and losing weight.

Start by building a healthy plate of leafy greens, lean protein, and whole grains. Next, meet with a registered dietitian who can help you plan meals, make healthy food choices and understand carbohydrates and carb counting. Meritus Diabetes Education’s registered dietitian and certified diabetes educators can help you choose what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat.

Exercise

Regular activity can improve how your body uses insulin and help you lose weight. Begin with 10 minutes of exercise daily and gradually work up to 30 minutes, five days a week. Physical activity may include:

  • A brisk walk
  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Bicycling indoors or outdoors
  • Treadmill or elliptical training
  • Low-impact aerobics

The most important aspect of exercise is to set aside time for it, track your physical activity and establish a goal. Talk to your primary care provider before starting an exercise program. Learn more about how you can incorporate physical activity into your day.

Partnering with Providers

Your health is an ongoing commitment between your doctor and you. Regular checkups with your primary care physician can help manage diabetes and detect and treat any potential problems early. Your doctor may also recommend you see the following providers:

Endocrinologists are specialists trained in diagnosing and treating hormonal imbalances. They can confirm a diabetes diagnosis, provide options for managing the disease, offer diabetes education or address diabetes-related complications.

  • Eye doctors. Diabetes can affect the blood vessels in your eyes which left untreated, can cause vision problems or blindness. Make an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist at least once a year to have your eyes evaluated.
  • Podiatrists are physicians trained in foot care. Some podiatrists have a specific interest in caring for diabetic patients. People with diabetes are prone to poor blood flow in the lower legs and feet. Regular foot screenings by a podiatrist can detect foot sores or calluses before they become a problem.
  • Certified diabetes educators can help you identify your needs and problem areas to help make lifestyle changes, create a diabetes care plan and provide education on blood sugar levels, medication/insulin and possible health complications.
  • Registered dietitians are food and nutrition experts. A registered dietitian with advance training in diabetes can help you plan meals, count carbohydrates, read food labels, lose weight and suggest healthy recipes.

Medications and Insulin

When regular exercise and healthy eating are not enough to control blood sugar levels, your doctor may prescribe oral medication and/or insulin therapy to help your body use insulin more effectively or secrete more insulin.

The providers of Meritus Endocrinology Specialists offer personalized care including insulin pump therapy, glucose monitoring and insulin injection therapy to assist you in managing diabetes.

Living with Diabetes