Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics


Memory Fitness
How to Get It, How to Keep It

by Cynthia R. Green, PhD

Many people are unaware that their daily lifestyle choices can affect memory. You can maximize memory health by identifying whether any lifestyle factors are interfering with your memory performance and learning. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you are leading a memory-healthy lifestyle:

Exercise, sleep, and diet. Exercise, sleep, and diet all affect one’s ability to learn and retain information. What matters to our body matters to our memory.

Keeping active can make it easier for your memory to be at its best. For example, two recent studies found that both men and women remembered better if they participated in moderate exercise (such as walking) on a regular basis. These findings mesh well with the Surgeon General’s recommendation for people to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week (or roughly 30 minutes most days of the week).

Achieving good memory fitness also requires getting a good night’s sleep. Because fatigue interferes with attention, it makes learning new things more difficult. Fatigue can also make it harder to recall things you know well, such as a word or name. Having a regular, relaxing sleep routine will boost your chances of getting adequate rest. If you have trouble sleeping on occasion, you can try some other ways to help your memory the day after a poor night’s sleep, including the following: Take more frequent notes, take extra care to avoid distractions, and — most important — keep in mind that it’s your sleep, not your memory, that is the problem. The National Sleep Foundation’s Web site, www.sleepfoundation.org, has some helpful information about good sleep habits. If you have a persistent sleep problem, your health-care provider can help you find out more about the cause and potential treatments for your sleeplessness. Most prescription medicines for sleep disturbance are best used only for short-term treatment, so your physician or sleep specialist will likely recommend behavioral strategies or treating underlying conditions rather than sleeping pills to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Your memory will be healthier if you eat a healthful diet. While there is no special diet for improving memory, following the current dietary guidelines of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a safe bet because high blood glucose levels have been linked to cognitive impairment. Although more study is needed, there is some evidence that hypertension (high blood pressure) can contribute to memory problems. People with hypertension or those at risk for hypertension may want to work with a dietitian to incorporate the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan into their lifestyles. The DASH diet, which encourages reducing red meat intake and eating more whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Adding a reduction in sodium intake along with the DASH plan has shown even greater improvements in blood pressure.

Alcohol abuse has been shown to cause memory loss and possibly increases the risk of developing dementia. The ADA says that consuming alcohol in moderation (no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men) is OK for most people with diabetes. A drink is defined as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Although you may have seen reports of studies finding that moderate alcohol consumption can lower risks of heart problems, results are still preliminary, and no national health organization advocates starting to drink if you do not drink already.

Page    1    2    3    4    Show All    

Also in this article:
Name Game



More articles on General Diabetes & Health Issues



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.



A Gram of Turmeric a Day to Keep Dementia At Bay?
The holiday season often triggers an avalanche of articles outlining everything that's bad... Blog

Healthful Eating: A Family Affair
Diabetes is a serious, chronic illness. While experts continue to learn more about diabetes,... Article

’Tis the Season: Healthy Holidays for All
When it comes to the holiday season, "don't mess with tradition" seems to be the motto. Maybe... Blog

Should I tell my doctor about the over-the-counter painkiller I've been using to treat headaches? Get tip