Take Care of Your Total Health

Prevent conditions that often go with diabetes

Dad playing with son

People with diabetes often live with other conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. This can make managing diabetes more difficult. But managing diabetes can help you take care of your whole health. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk factors, and try these strategies to improve your overall health.

Maintain your best weight
You probably already know how important it is to maintain a healthy weight to manage diabetes. But if you are overweight, you are also at a higher risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney problems. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or dietitian to make the right plan for you.

Keep moving
Physical activity keeps your blood sugar steady, but it also reduces your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Exercise helps you manage your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. The American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 days a week. A moderate pace is walking about 100 steps per minute. Twice a week, do strengthening exercises with weights or resistance bands.

Eat for good health
Exercise helps, but eating well is another important part of the plan. Limit red meats, and choose more vegetables and fruit. Cut back on high-calorie foods and salt. Too much sodium raises your blood pressure, which may lead to kidney disease. Instead, get flavor with garlic or heart-healthy spices and herbs such as oregano, pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon.

Don’t smoke
Smoking is bad for your lungs and also damages your heart, eyes, kidneys, and other organs. Quit to improve your whole health. Your doctor or pharmacist can give you advice on how to stop and help you find additional support. Visit smokefree.gov for tips on how to quit.

Diabetes and Cancer
Good news: Steps you take to control diabetes can prevent colon cancer. To lower your colon cancer risk, stay active, maintain a healthy weight, eat well, limit alcohol use, and avoid smoking. If you catch it early, colon cancer is often curable. Ask your doctor about your risk and early screenings you can do at home, such as a stool test.