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Do You Have Diabetes? Seven Steps to Take for Better Health

October 2008

Karen Ensle Ed.D., RD, FADA, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County

Recent studies have found that type 2 diabetics who lose weight soon after being diagnosed are more likely than others to keep their blood pressure and blood glucose levels under control. In addition to losing weight, there are other small steps that diabetics and pre-diabetics can take to improve their health. Following are seven additional recommendations:

  • Find a doctor. A primary-care physician can track your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Also consider working with an endocrinologist.
  • Find a certified diabetes educator. You also need to work with a registered dietitian (RD) who is a certified diabetes educator (CDE) to help with planning your dietary intake. Healthy meals and snacks are critical to keep your blood glucose under control. To find an RD, go to
  • Take the drugs you need. Your doctor may prescribe drugs to lower your blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Make sure you take them as directed. Healthy meals and snacks, along with weight reduction and increased physical activity, will help to improve your health. Let the doctor decide if and when to reduce or eliminate drugs. Making lifestyle changes will help you to stay healthier.
  • Get checkups with specialists. Anyone with diabetes needs to take special care of their eyes and feet. Make sure you get annual eye and foot exams along with dental exams every six months.
  • Stay active and fit. Daily exercise of 30 minutes or more on most days is the bare minimum needed. If you need to lose weight, consider 60-90 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. Vigorous activity on most days can improve blood sugar levels as well as help you to lose weight.
  • Get educated. Learn about Diabetes by reading and visiting reliable websites such as the American Diabetes Association:
  • Get the family involved and supportive. It is easier to exercise and eat right if others do it also. Go to the Get Moving, Get Healthy NJ website at