If you’re living with diabetes, you know that diabetes management involves many important self-care tasks. And if you’re one of the millions of people who’ve shifted to working from home recently, it’s important to understand how to incorporate these tasks into your new daily routine. By learning how to manage diabetes at home, you can set yourself up for success now and in the long term.
How to Manage Diabetes at Home
Managing diabetes at home requires you to be mindful of the things that cause your blood glucose to rise and fall—and know how to control them. Day-to-day factors, such as diet and exercise, strongly influence the success of your diabetes management. But when it comes to how to manage diabetes at home, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. By working closely with your healthcare team to create a personalized diabetes self-care plan and adhering to this plan every day, you can more effectively manage your health.
Diet and Nutrition
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is crucial for your overall health and wellness in addition to effective diabetes management. While there’s no single effective diet for people living with diabetes, there are guidelines you can follow to set yourself up for success—and they’re easiest to follow at home, where you have more control over what you eat.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you’re eating healthy, well-balanced meals is to use the plate method. This method is designed to ensure balance and proper portion sizes. To use the plate method, grab a nine-inch-diameter plate and fill it according to these guidelines:
- ½ plate of non-starchy vegetables (salad, green beans, broccoli, carrots, etc.)
- ¼ plate of lean protein (chicken, turkey, beans, eggs, tofu)
- ¼ plate of carbs (rice, pasta, beans, fruit, and starchy vegetables like potatoes)
Keep in mind that what you drink matters too! The American Diabetes Association recommends drinking low- or zero-calorie beverages and other healthy beverages, such as the following:
- Water (still, sparkling, seltzer, mineral, or infused)
- Unsweetened tea
- Diet sodas
- Skim or nonfat milk
- Zero-calorie drink mixes
Always be sure to discuss your diabetes diet plan with your healthcare team. They can provide you with personalized guidance about what, how much, and when to eat and answer any questions you may have.
Exercise is one of the most powerful yet simple tools available to you—and with the availability of on-demand workout videos and internet-connected exercise equipment, it’s easier than ever to exercise at home. Regular physical activity can help with weight management and glycemic control and provide a host of other mental and physical health benefits. The American Diabetes Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. For personalized guidance, talk with your healthcare team about creating an exercise plan that works for you.
When diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to keep blood glucose levels in check, insulin and other diabetes medications may be prescribed. Timing of medication administration and proper storage of medications can alter their effectiveness. Setting alarms or reminders on your phone and using tools like pillboxes can help you stay on track. You may also consider dedicating a section of your fridge to medications to help you stay organized and having refills sent directly to your home to ensure you never run out.
Before you start taking any other-the-counter medications or supplements, consult with your healthcare team to determine if there are any potential medication interactions to consider. If your diabetes medications cause any side effects, report this to your healthcare team.
Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose
Frequent self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is strongly associated with better glycemic control and lower A1C levels. For many people living with diabetes, checking blood glucose levels throughout the day is essential for successful diabetes management.
Monitoring blood glucose levels and tracking changes provides you and your healthcare team important insight into how well your treatment plan is working and whether any adjustments are needed. Checking your blood glucose regularly can also help you respond quickly to blood glucose changes to prevent complications and support overall physical health.
The Right Monitor Can Simplify Managing Diabetes at Home
One of the most common ways to SMBG at home is with a blood glucose meter (BGM)—but not all BGMs are the same.
Traditional BGMs involve several pieces of equipment and a multistep process. They typically come in a kit containing the BGM device, a lancing device and lancets, test strips, and batteries. But dealing with separate lancets and test strips and properly disposing of materials can interfere with your ability or willingness to test as frequently as you should. Finding a more convenient, easy-to-use solution to glucose monitoring is one of the easiest ways to simplify your day-to-day diabetes management routine.
The right BGM should simplify diabetes management. An all-in-one blood glucose monitor, like the POGO Automatic® Monitor, is designed to do just that.
POGO Automatic is the first FDA-cleared all-in-one blood glucose monitor with 10-test technology that automatically lances and collects blood in one step. The lancets and test strips are built into 10-test cartridges, so it’s simple to carry. You don't need to keep track of multiple components or keep a sharps container to dispose of materials. With POGO Automatic, you simply turn the monitor on and place your finger on the test port to get results in seconds.
Learning how to manage diabetes at home can be empowering, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come with its challenges. By finding new tools and strategies that work for your lifestyle and seeking support from your healthcare team, you can make your diabetes journey as smooth as possible.
Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.
All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.