Diabetes Self-Management Articles

In this section, you’ll find basic and useful information on blood glucose monitoring, meal planning, medicines, exercise, and beyond. If you’re newly diagnosed and are just beginning to learn about diabetes, these articles can help you get started.


A Focus On Adults With Type 1 Diabetes by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

In the past 20 years, determining what type of diabetes a person has has become more of a challenge. It’s becoming clearer that Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age and sometimes occurs in people who are overweight…

Also inside: Resources

Adopting a Vegetarian Meal Plan by Alissa Heizler-Mendoza, RD, CDN, CDE, and Megha Desai, MD

Because a vegetarian meal plan has been shown to be helpful in lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other diabetes-related complications, vegetarianism may be another tool to consider as you travel the road toward optimal diabetes health…

Also inside: Cooking With Tofu, Vegetarian Protein Sources

Aging Well With Diabetes by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Bob Moss, PharmD, and Parminder Kaur, PharmD, MBA

America is aging. The number of senior citizens, ages 65 and older, in the United States is growing faster than the number of younger people. It now exceeds 40 million, making up about 13% of the total population. As a person gets older, his risk for a chronic illness such as diabetes rises…

Also inside: Take-Away Tips

Analyze This! by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

Picture this: You’re sitting in an exam room at your doctor’s office. The nurse pokes her head in and says, “Sorry for the wait. He’ll be right with you.” Yeah, you’ve heard that before. To kill some time, you start building a miniature fort out of tongue depressors on the examination table. Add some gauze for fences and an odd instrument for a flagpole, and you have quite a little scene going…

Also inside: Simple Record-Keeping System, Connie's Records, Daniel's Records, Renee's Records

Are You Label-Able? by Belinda O’Connell, MS, RD, CDE, and Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE

Eating healthfully and following a meal plan are key components of good diabetes care whether you use oral medicines, insulin, or diet and exercise to manage your diabetes. Knowing how to read a food label can help you choose healthful foods, figure out…

Also inside: for Sample Food Labels, Calculating Carbohydrate Choices, Personalizing the Percent Daily Value, Health Claims, and Label Terms

Avoiding Complications by Amy Tenderich, MA

Most people who are diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes are told at some point about the long-term damage diabetes can do, such as causing heart attack and stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and limb amputations. Unfortunately, too few are also told…

Also inside: Your Diabetes Health Account

Calculating for the Holidays by Tara Dairman

The holiday season can sometimes feel like one long eating marathon — but there are tools out there to help you cope…


Cookbooks for One or Two by Carolyn Robertson

Living alone with diabetes may present certain challenges, but there are resources and tools at your disposal to help you live safely and healthfully.
Cookbooks for One or Two
It can be hard to come up with recipes for one or two people, especially when most cookbooks offer recipes that serve more. Here are some resources for [...]


Dealing With Prediabetes by Joseph Gustaitis

Nearly 24 million people in the United States are estimated to have diabetes. That’s a big number. But it’s not nearly as big as the estimated number who have prediabetes — 57 million…


Diabetes in the Military by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Pamela Rickerson, RN, MSN, CDE

Developing diabetes while already serving in the military is not automatic grounds for separation (retirement) from the military. Several hundred service members (out of more than 1.4 million currently serving) are diagnosed with diabetes each year…

Also inside: Resources for Healthful Eating and Exercise, Veterans Health Administration Resources

Diabetes on the Job by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE

Diabetes affects almost 26 million people in the United States, and it stands to reason that many of those people work. The workplace can add to the challenges of managing diabetes, in a number of ways…

Also inside: Resources for Workers, Take-Away Job Tips

Diagnosing Diabetes by Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

For many years, there have been three standard tests for assessing people with symptoms of diabetes and for screening people believed to be at risk of developing diabetes. Recently, the ADA began recommending another blood test…


Drugs to Prevent and Treat the Flu by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Kelly Velasco, PharmD, MBA

It’s that time of year again: flu season. With September right around the corner, you should be preparing to get your annual vaccine against influenza or, as it is usually called, the flu…

Also inside: Common Drugs to Treat the Flu, Take-Away Tips for Avoiding the Flu, Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

Finding Health Information on the Internet by Elizabeth M. LaRue, PhD, MLS, AHIP

Do you realize that when you are looking for health information on the Internet, you are searching through 124 million Web sites? Given the sheer volume of health information online, how do you find the specific information you need? And once you find it, how do you determine whether the source of the information is reliable?


Getting Educated and Staying Educated by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Patti Geil, MS, RD, FADA, CDE, and Stacy Griffin, PharmD

Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires the person who has it to provide most of his own care. But while it can be challenging, there is help. Diabetes education and training is available…

Also inside: Education Resources, Take-Away Tips for Diabetes Education

How to Avoid Errors in Diabetes Care by Patrick J. O'Connor, MD, MPH, JoAnn M. Sperl-Hillen, MD, and Becky Klein, RN CDE

Medical errors generally make the news only when they are particularly dramatic — the wrong leg is amputated, for example — or tragic — someone dies. But less sensational errors take place every day in numerous settings. Some errors happen in hospitals, some in doctors’ offices, some in pharmacies, and some in people’s homes, when, for example, two drugs are mixed up or a dose is forgotten…

Also inside: Avoiding Medication Mistakes

Improving Your Diabetes Care Visits by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Wendell Miers, MD

It is well-recognized that diabetes is a serious, life-long health condition that can affect many bodily systems. It’s also recognized that much of diabetes care must be carried out by the person who has it…

Also inside: Know Your ABCs, Questions About Medicines, What Is My Average Glucose?

Insulin Resistance by Rita Carey Rubin, MS, RD, CDE

If you have diabetes, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about prediabetes. In fact, if you have Type 2 diabetes, you may have been told at some point in the past that you had prediabetes…

Also inside: Diagnosing Diabetes and Prediabetes

Living Alone and Living Well With Diabetes by Carolyn Robertson, APRN, MSN, BC-ADM, CDE

Planning ahead makes good sense for anyone with diabetes, but for someone who lives alone, it takes on added importance. When you live alone, for example, you can’t take for granted that someone will be with you — or even come home eventually — to help if you develop hypoglycemia or to get supplies for [...]


Managing Hyperglycemia by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Belinda O'Connell, MS, RD, CDE

When you were diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor probably told you that your blood glucose levels were too high. Indeed, high blood glucose, or hyperglycemia, is the hallmark of diabetes. Regardless of your knowledge of diabetes at that time, you may…

Also inside: Blood Glucose Targets

Navigating Your Way to Optimal Health by Laura Hieronymus, M.S.Ed., A.P.R.N., B.C.-A.D.M., C.D.E., and Gregory Hood, M.D.

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”
—Seneca the Elder

Diabetes is a chronic condition, meaning that once you are diagnosed, it’s there to stay. While this idea can be daunting and even…

Also inside: Monitoring for Control and Complications, Symptoms of Diabetes

Oral Medicines for Type 2 Diabetes by Patti Geil, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., and Laura Hieronymus, M.S.Ed., A.P.R.N., B.C.-A.D.M., C.D.E.

Taking care of your diabetes is a bit like building a home. With input from your diabetes care team contractors, you begin by drafting a well-thought-out set of blueprints and assembling all the tools you need to control your blood glucose levels…

Also inside: to view Oral Diabetes Medicines at a Glance and Effectiveness of Oral Medicines

Peer Support, Education, and Mentoring by Martha Mitchell Funnell, MS, RN, CDE

Managing one’s diabetes involves a lot of responsibility and a lot of work. It makes sense intuitively that having the social support you need can help you manage your diabetes, and scientific research bears this out…

Also inside: Peer Support Resources

Physical Activity by Patti Geil, MS, RD, CDE, and Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE

“The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions.”

—Fred Allen

If jumping to conclusions is your only form of physical activity, you are overlooking one of the top tools available to improve your diabetes control! Healthful eating…

Also inside: Risky Business?, Step It Up!

Planning for a Successful Health-Care Visit by Janet Howard-Ducsay, RN, CDE

You have canceled your last two appointments with your doctor, but now the pharmacy says you need to have new prescriptions for your diabetes supplies and medicines. You can’t put it off any longer: It’s time to see your doctor about your diabetes. But this time, maybe things can be different…

Also inside: Helpful Questions

Reducing Diabetes Risks for the Whole Family by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Carol Peddicord, MD

In some cases, being aware of having a heightened risk for diabetes enables a person to be proactive about reducing the risk. For example, people with prediabetes and blood relatives of people with Type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes…

Also inside: How One Family Worked on Reducing Risks, Take-Away Tips for Risk Reduction

Reviewing the Types of Diabetes

The incidence of diabetes is on the rise in the United States and worldwide. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 50% increase in the prevalence of diabetes from 1997 to 2004. While the rise in cases of Type 2 diabetes is perhaps most striking, it appears that the incidence of Type 1 diabetes is increasing as well…


Seeing the Big Picture by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Patti Geil, MS, RD, FADA, CDE

Achieving any big goal usually involves taking many small steps. But sometimes it’s important to take a step back from the actions you’re taking to reach your goal and take a look at the goal itself…

Also inside: Take-Away Tips

Setting Goals for Healthy Living by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, Bradley Eilerman, MD, and Leonard Bennett, PharmD

Staying healthy with diabetes requires efforts on a variety of fronts. These include eating healthfully, being physically active, taking prescribed medicines at the right times in the right doses, scheduling and keeping numerous medical appointments every year, and being aware of not just blood glucose levels…

Also inside: SMART in Action

Sexual Wellness by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Lawrence Maguire, MD

“Intimacy is being seen and known as the person you truly are.”—Amy Bloom

Researchers believe that up to 50% of people with diabetes will experience some sort of sexual dysfunction at some point. But even if diabetes doesn’t directly…

Also inside: Read More About It

Stress: Finding Peace Amid the Storm by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Patti Geil, MS, RD, CDE

Everyone experiences stress in life, and people with diabetes are no exception. In fact, diabetes itself can be a source of much stress. The challenge is not to seek a life with no stress but to learn to deal with the stresses life hands us…

Also inside: Symptoms of Depression

Taking Diabetes to Heart by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Kristina Humphries, MD

While having diabetes does increase your risk for heart disease, it doesn’t make it inevitable. Learn about the basics, the risks, and what you can do for your heart…


Taking Steps Toward Healthy Feet by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Belinda O'Connell, MS, RD, CDE

Diabetes is notorious for causing foot problems. In fact, it is the number one cause of lower limb amputations in the United States. More than half of the amputations performed each year are caused by diabetes. But it doesn’t have to be this way…

Also inside: For More Information, How Can I Get My Doctor to Help Me Take Care of My Feet?, What Can I Do to Take Care of My Feet?

Teaming Up for Better Diabetes Control by Laura Hieronymus, M.S.Ed., A.P.R.N., B.C.-A.D.M., C.D.E., and Kristina Humphries, M.D.

Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.

—Henry Ford

Diabetes is a chronic condition, which means it lasts for a lifetime and requires ongoing care. Diabetes can also affect many parts of the…

Also inside: Maximize Your Team Meetings, Rounding Up Your Team

The Benefits of Tight Control by Wayne Clark

It has been 16 years since the results of the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) were published. Despite its continuing legacy of proof that maintaining blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible reduces the risk of…


The Right Drug at the Right Dose by Mark T. Marino, MD

If you’ve ever compared notes with another person who has diabetes, chances are that your treatment regimens are different, even if you have the same type of diabetes. Why is this?


Traveling With Diabetes by Carol L. Hernandez, RN, CNOR

Having diabetes should never hold you back from doing the things you love or from embarking on new adventures. However, when it comes to traveling, especially to destinations far off the beaten path, managing all the details of your diabetes care in addition to the details of travel — tickets, itineraries, connections, and reservations, to name a few — may seem overwhelming…

Also inside: Carrying Cases, Planning for International Travel

Traveling With Diabetes by Kerri Sparling

People with diabetes aren’t known for packing light, and I am no exception. Just leaving the house to grocery shop has me throwing at least my glucose meter, the receiver for my Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring system, and a jar of glucose tablets into my purse…

Also inside: Travel Checklist

Tune In to Your Ratio(s) by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

No, it’s not a typo. For people who use insulin, determining and using your insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios can give you more flexibility with regard to food choices and better blood glucose control…

Also inside: Determining Your Breakfast I:C Ratio

Type 2 Diabetes by Wayne Clark

Diabetes was described as early as 1552 BC, but it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that it was linked to the pancreas, and not until 1936 that it was classified into two different types. Today, the cause of Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is still an open question…


Type 2 Diabetes by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Tommy Betram, RPh

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States, but knowing that one has a genetic predisposition means a person can be proactive about preventing it. You can make healthy living your family legacy, instead of Type 2 diabetes…

Also inside: Online Risk Evaluator, When Is It Diabetes?

Understanding Hypoglycemia by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Belinda O’Connell, MS, RD, CDE

When you think about diabetes and blood glucose control, the first thing that comes to mind is probably avoiding high blood glucose levels. After all, the hallmark of diabetes is high blood glucose, or hyperglycemia. But controlling blood glucose is more…


Understanding Insulin by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Patti Geil, MS, RD, CDE

In any discussion of diabetes, the word insulin is almost certain to come up. That’s because a lack of insulin or trouble responding to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance) or both is what is responsible for the high blood glucose…

Also inside: Treating Hypoglycemia, Types of Insulin, Insulin Injection Sites

Understanding Your Lab Test Results by Judith Grout

People who have diabetes are generally advised to visit their doctors multiple times a year. Although you certainly can’t and won’t be expected to analyze the lab report when your test results come back, knowing a little bit about what your report says can be a way for you to more fully understand and take charge of your health…

Also inside: Lab Lingo

What is Diabetes? by Belinda O’Connell, MS, RD, CDE, and Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, C.DE

Most likely, you knew very little about diabetes before you learned that you had it. After your diagnosis, your next few doctor visits were probably a crash course in diabetes: learning how to check your blood glucose level, inject insulin or follow a…

Also inside: for Types of Diabetes

Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

My insulin requirements have changed since I became pregnant. Why might this be? Get tip


Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

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