Five ways to stay on top of diabetes

Insights, tips and support from Paige Frederick, RN

Diabetes health

At The Portland Clinic, we are committed to partnering with you to help you control your diabetes, improve your health and live your life to the fullest. We’re here to help with important health screenings, information, care and support. Outside of the clinic, there are plenty of things you can do, as well, to manage your diabetes. Here are the top five, plus resources to help you succeed:

1. Balance your plate

A well-balanced diet is vital for people with diabetes. Eating healthy, balanced meals helps you keep your blood sugar on an even keel and avoid dangerous spikes. One of the best things you can do is to fill half of your plate with salad and veggies. Another is to cut back on simple carbs (e.g., white bread, white rice, pasta, flour tortillas, fries, chips and sweets) and swap them out for whole grains.

Resources and support: Having trouble making healthy food choices? Ask your provider for a referral to our dietitian, who can help you plan balanced meals that fit your tastes. If financial issues make it hard to afford healthy food, our social workers can help. Find healthy recipes at

2. Move more

Physical activity is like the world’s best — and cheapest — medicine. It lowers your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol; it strengthens your heart, muscles and bones; and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny. Shoot for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, and notice how good you start to feel.

Resources and support: If injuries or other physical limitations make it hard to be active, our physical therapists may be able to help. Get motivated to be more active at

3. Monitor your blood sugar

If your doctor asks you to monitor your blood sugar at home, be sure to do it regularly, and notify your care team if anything changes. Higher trends or episodes of low blood sugar may mean that your treatment plan should change.

Resources and support: Talk to your provider if you are having trouble with home monitoring

4. Keep up with your medications and screenings

Uncontrolled diabetes is very serious. It can lead to nerve damage and numb feet, amputations, blindness, kidney damage and dialysis and heart attacks and strokes. Talk to your care team about the recommended screenings and medications that will help prevent or minimize diabetes-related complications. And be sure to take all medications, including insulin, as prescribed.

Resources and support: If side effects are making it difficult to take your medications, or if financial challenges are making it hard to afford them, our pharmacists and social workers can help you find alternatives or assistance.

5. Don’t smoke — it’s even more dangerous for people with diabetes

Smoking puts people with diabetes at serious risk of impairment and early death. It makes blood sugar harder to control and damages the blood vessels that feed the heart, brain, eyes, kidneys and nerves, all of which can speed up the complications listed in No. 4 above. Quitting could literally save your life.

Resources and support: Having trouble quitting? Ask your doctor about medications that can help. Check out for more information and resources.