diabetes awareness and action


See how you can manage your diabetes.


Football sitting in a field.
  • Vince Lombardi once said “The best defense is a good offense.”
  • Being proactive with your health is important.
  • Making simple life style changes can control and prevent diabetes.
  • A healthy lifestyle may act as a shield of Defense against preventable disease.
  • Woman in shoes with a yoga mat.
  • Diabetes self-management refers to the activities and behaviors people can take to control and treat their condition.
  • How well diabetes is managed depends on the person living with diabetes. Your actions are the most important part of staying healthy when you live with diabetes and include:
    • Testing blood sugar and taking action when it gets too high or too low
    • Eating balanced meals and watching portion sizes
    • Being active most days of the week
    • Drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration
    • Taking medications as prescribed
    • Checking feet
    • Learning how to manage stress
    • Education, education, education!
    • Getting recommended tests and exams
    American Diabetes Association logo.
  • The American Diabetes Association (ADA) note in 2021 guidelines that self-management and education are crucial aspects of diabetes care.
  • Diabetes self-management can reduce blood sugar levels, mortality risk, and healthcare costs, as well as weight in people with excess weight.
  • Hand picking a tomato slice out of a salad.
  • If you are one of the millions of people living with diabetes, we have good news to help you live a better quality of life.
  • Participating in a self-management education (DSME) program can help you learn skills to take care of your diabetes.
  • Checking blood sugar regularly, eating healthy food, being active, taking medicines as prescribed, and handling stress will help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
  • Woman holding a cup of coffee and smiling.
  • The bottom line is that people who have the information and support they need to manage their diabetes are healthier than people who do not.
  • In the next section, find out how an DSME program can help you learn more and feel better.

  • Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support

    Graphic of various hospital services.
  • Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services provide information and skills for people to manage their diabetes and related conditions.
  • DSMES is tailored to your individual needs, goals, and life experiences and is guided by evidence-based standards.
  • You’ll learn how to eat healthy, be physically active, monitor blood sugar levels, take medication, problem solve, reduce risk for other health conditions, cope with the emotional side of diabetes, and improve your health and quality of life.
  • Insurance policy document.
  • Cost: The cost can vary depending on if it is covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid in some states.
  • Format: The programs can be taught in a group or individual setting and can be offered in person, online, or by phone.
  • Doctor showing a medical record to a patient.
  • There are three times DSMES can help you manage your diabetes that include at your yearly follow-up visits with your doctor, if health complications arise, and when changes in your care occur.
  • Your doctor may refer you to a specific program. If not, visit the American Association of Diabetes Educators (ADCES) website to find a program in your area.
  • Group photo of hospital team.
  • People with Diabetes can live healthy, active lives. The key is to follow a diabetes care plan.
  • Good control of blood sugar levels can dramatically lower your risk for developing complications. Your care provider may also recommend that you see health care professionals, including the following:
    • Endocrinologist – specializes in the treatment of diabetes
    • Diabetes Nurse Educator – Instruction in your day-to-day care
    • Dietician – help in planning meals
    • Ophthalmologist – eye examinations
    • Podiatrist – routine foot care
    • Exercise Specialist – help in planning a diabetes exercise program
    • Lifestyle Coach – deliver lifestyle change programs
    • Physical Therapist – help with physical problems related to diabetes

    Self Care Tips

    Workout partners, one doing a pushup while the other counts.
  • Self-management can also involve family members, friends, or other caregivers.
  • These individuals can offer emotional support, participate in exercise activities, help monitor blood sugar, administer insulin and provide open communication.
  • Enhanced social support from family and friends can help an individual’s belief in their ability to successfully manage their health needs.
  • Older woman and man practicing tai chi.
  • Managing Diabetes is not always easy. Feeling stressed, sad, or angry is common when you are living with Diabetes.
  • Long term stress can raise your blood glucose and blood pressure, but you can learn ways to lower your stress.
  • Try deep breathing, tai chi, gardening, yoga, walking, hiking, meditating, listening to music, and doing a hobby.

  • Resources


    In the U.P. there are diabetes self management programs, care managers, and RDN and/or Diabetes Care and management specialists embedded in practices. Also, 2 FNP who specialize in diabetes care. We also have specialized clinics in the U.P. for children with diabetes.


    These tools and resources can help you reach your goals and better manage diabetes.

    Wellness Wheel

    Wellness wheel example.
  • Improve Your Wellness: The Wellness Wheel is a self-evaluation tool using a holistic, six-aspect model of health by enabling you to become aware of and make choices that will lead to a more successful existence.
  • It’s a self-evaluation activity that helps you to understand in which areas you are Thriving, or struggling. Wellness is a journey, not a destination, and a wellness wheel enables you to check in with yourself regularly and evaluate your personal wellbeing.
  • Wellness Aspect: Emotional. Wellness Aspect: Occupational. Wellness Aspect: Physical. Wellness Aspect: Social. Wellness Aspect: Intellectual. Wellness Aspect: Spiritual.

    Aspect: Emotional

    The emotional dimension of wellness emphasizes an awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. It reflects the degree to which an individual feels positive and enthusiastic about oneself and one’s life. This dimension involves the capacity to manage feelings and behaviors, accept yourself unconditionally, assess limitations, increase peace, and cope with stress.

    Aspect: Occupational

    The occupational dimension recognizes personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work. At the center of occupational wellness is the premise that occupational development is related to one’s attitude about one’s work. Traveling a path toward your occupational wellness, you’ll contribute your unique gifts, skills, and talents to work that is both personally meaningful and rewarding.

    Aspect: Physical

    The physical dimension recognizes the need for regular physical activity. Physical development encourages learning about diet and nutrition while discouraging the use of tobacco, drugs and excessive alcohol consumption. Optimal wellness is met through the combination of good exercise and eating habits. As you travel the wellness path, you’ll strive to spend time building physical strength, flexibility and endurance.

    Aspect: Social

    The social dimension encourages contributing to one’s environment and community. It emphasizes the interdependence between others and nature. As you travel a wellness path, you’ll become more aware of your importance in society as well as the impact you have on multiple environments. You’ll take an active part in improving our world by encouraging healthier living and initiating better communication with those around you.

    Aspect: Intellectual

    The intellectual dimension recognizes one’s creative, stimulating mental activities. A well person expands his or her knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing his or her gifts with others. Using intellectual and cultural activities in the classroom and beyond the classroom combined with the human resources and learning resources available within the university community and the larger community, a well person cherishes intellectual growth and stimulation.

    Aspect: Spiritual

    The spiritual dimension recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe. Your search will be characterized by a peaceful harmony between internal personal feelings and emotions and the rough and rugged stretches of your path.

    Toolbox illustration.
  • Utilize the WW wellness wheel to help you integrate these important dimensions of wellness in your life.
  • Keep in mind that life is not static. Neither is your wellness. The wellness wheel is a tool that you can use periodically to evaluate how you are doing over time, and how your wellbeing has changed and is impacting your goals and life.
  • Parents walking with daughter on training bike.
  • Wellness is no longer a luxury but a necessity.
  • Wellness is an active process by which people become more aware of their mind, body, soul and emotions. Wellness is not perfection, it’s progression!
  • Since it’s a visual aid, the wellness wheel can help you clearly identify areas of wellness in your life that are probably neglected, or that have been left unchecked for some time. If this is the case, you might be feeling unstable, stressed, anxious, or simply unwell.

  • Diabetes ABCs

    Alphabet soup with a spoon holding letters A, B, and C.
  • Manage your Diabetes ABCs.
  • knowing your Diabetes ABC’s will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • A – A1C
  • B – Blood pressure
  • C – Cholesterol and Cardiovascular risk
  • E – Eyes
  • F – Feet
  • K – Kidneys
  • O – Oral health
  • S – Smoking
  • V – Vaccinations

  • How do Diabetes Care and Education Specialists Help?

    Carb Counting

    Can displaying nutrition facts.
  • The amount of carbohydrates in foods is measured in grams.
  • To count carbs grams in what you eat, you’ll need to learn which foods have carbs and be able to read the Food Labels and learn to estimate the number of grams of carbs in the foods you eat.
  • Carb counting involves keeping track of the amount of carbs you eat and drink each day. It is a method of meal planning based on courting carbs.
  • Carb courting is well worth the effort to learn when you consider the impact it has on your control.
  • For more information, visit https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/understanding-carbs/carb-counting-and-diabetes.

  • BMI Calculator

    Weight Loss Planning

    Nutrition coach holding a clipboard and smiling.
  • If you are overweight or have obesity, work with your health care team to create a weight-loss plan.
  • The Body Weight Planner can help you tailor your calorie and physical activity plans to reach & maintain your goal weight.
  • For more information, visit https://www.niddk.nih.gov/bwp.
  • Pregnant woman doing a butterfly stretch.
  • To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories and replace less healthy foods with foods lower in calories, fat, and sugar.
  • If you have diabetes, are overweight or obese, and are planning to have a baby, you should try to lose any excess weight before you become pregnant.
  • Learn more about planning for pregnancy if you have diabetes.

  • Meals

    Empty plate on a table.
  • The plate method helps you control your portion sizes. You don’t need to count calories.
  • Use a 9-inch plate. Put non-starchy vegetables on half of the plate; a meat or other protein on one-fourth of the plate; and a grain or other starch on the last one-fourth.
  • You can find many different combinations of food and more details about using the plate method from the American Diabetes Association’s Create Your Plate.
  • Your daily eating plan also may include small snacks between meals.
  • For more information, visit http://archives.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate.
  • Handful of assorted nuts and raisins.
  • Watching your portion sizes is a key ingredient to fighting diabetes.
    • You can use everyday objects or your hand to judge the size of a portion
    • 1 serving of meat or poultry is the palm of your hand or a deck of cards
    • 1 3-ounce serving of fish is a checkbook
    • 1 serving of cheese is six dice
    • 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta is a rounded handful or a tennis ball
    • 1 serving of a pancake or waffle is a DVD
    • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter are a ping-pong ball
  • For more information, visit https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org.

  • Exercising Safely

    Woman drinking from a water bottle.
  • How can I be physically active safely if I have diabetes?
  • Be sure to drink water before, during, and after exercise to stay well hydrated.
  • The following are some other tips for safe physical activity when you have diabetes.
  • Notebook page titled 'WORKOUT PLAN.'
  • Plan ahead
  • Talk with your health care team before you start a new physical activity routine, especially if you have other health problems.
  • Your health care team also can help you decide the best time of day for you to do physical activity based on your daily schedule, meal plan, and diabetes medicines.
  • If you take insulin, you need to balance the activity that you do with your insulin doses and meals so you don’t get low blood glucose.
  • Blood sugar tester displaying 'LOW BLOOD SUGAR.'
  • Prevent low blood glucose
  • Because physical activity lowers your blood glucose, you should protect yourself against low blood glucose levels, also called hypoglycemia.
  • Hypoglycemia also can occur after a long intense workout or if you have skipped a meal before being active.
  • Planning is key to preventing hypoglycemia.
  • You may need to check your blood glucose level before, during, and right after you are physically active.
  • Man taking a break from his workout.
  • Stay safe when blood glucose is high
  • If you have type 1 diabetes, avoid vigorous physical activity when you have ketones in your blood or urine.
  • If you are physically active when you have ketones in your blood or urine, your blood glucose level may go even higher.
  • Ask your health care team what level of ketones are dangerous for you and how to test for them.
  • Ketones are uncommon in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Woman massaging her feet.
  • Take care of your feet
  • People with diabetes may have problems with their feet because of poor blood flow and nerve damage that can result from high blood glucose levels.
  • To help prevent foot problems, you should wear comfortable, supportive shoes and take care of your feet before, during, and after physical activity.
  • For more information, visit https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/diabetic-foot-care-guidelines.

  • Activities You Can Do

    Man riding a bike.
  • Most kinds of physical activity can help you take care of your diabetes.
  • Certain activities may be unsafe for some people, such as those with low vision or nerve damage to their feet.
  • Doing different types of physical activity each week will give you the most health benefits.
  • Mixing it up also helps reduce boredom and lower your chance of getting hurt.
  • Woman walking up the stairs.
  • Add extra activity to your daily routine
  • If you have been inactive or you are trying a new activity, start slowly, with 5 to 10 minutes a day.
  • Try these simple ways to add physical activities in your life each day:
    • Walk around while you talk on the phone or during TV commercials.
    • Do chores, such as work in the garden, rake leaves, clean the house, or wash the car.
    • Park at the far end of the shopping center parking lot and walk to the store.
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
    • Make your family outings active, such as a family bike ride or a walk in a park.
    Woman doing leg lifts from an office chair.
  • If you are sitting for a long time, such as working at a desk or watching TV, do some light activity for 3 minutes or more every half hour.
  • Light activities include:
    • Leg lifts or extensions
    • Overhead arm stretches
    • Desk chair swivels
    • Torso twists
    • Side lunges
    • Walking in place
    Group cycle aerobics.
  • Do aerobic exercise
  • Aerobic exercise is activity that makes your heart beat faster and makes you breathe harder.
  • You should aim for doing aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day most days of the week.
  • You can split up these minutes into a few times throughout the day.
  • Woman hiking across bridge.
  • To get the most out of your activity, exercise at a moderate to vigorous level.
    • Walking briskly or hiking
    • Climbing stairs
    • Swimming or a water-aerobics class
    • Dancing
    • Riding a bicycle or a stationary bicycle
    • Taking an exercise class
    • Playing basketball, tennis, or other sports
    Man doing strength training.
  • Do strength training to build muscle
  • Strength training is a light or moderate physical activity that builds muscle and helps keep your bones healthy.
  • When you have more muscle and less body fat, you’ll burn more calories.
  • You can do strength training with hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines.
  • Slowly increase the size of your weights as your muscles become stronger.
  • Group of women doing outdoor yoga.
  • Do stretching exercises
  • When you stretch, you increase your flexibility, lower your stress, and help prevent sore muscles.
  • Yoga is a type of stretching that focuses on your breathing and helps you relax.
  • Even if you have problems moving or balancing, certain types of yoga can help.

  • Press Center


    Testimonial screenshot from U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

    “I am acutely aware that more than 1,052,000 Michiganders suffer from Diabetes, and I appreciate the members of the Lions Clubs of District 11-E1 for advocating on behalf of these individuals and their families.”