Diabetes is a chronic and lifelong condition that could prove fatal. Fortunately, with the necessary precautions, it can also be a very manageable and treatable condition. Learning to effectively manage your diabetes can sometimes be tricky, as it requires awareness and preparation, but it is also key to living a healthy life with diabetes. Here are five easy ways to take control of your diabetes.

Educate yourself
Once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to learn all you can about the disease. It’s important to know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes because treatment strategies can sometimes vary between the two. Be aware that diabetes is a serious condition and should not be treated lightly. Proper education on the disease will enable you to be prepared for any situation, so be sure to devise a management plan with your doctor or members of a support team.

Monitor your blood sugar
Diabetes is essentially centered on blood sugar, and monitoring your glucose and keeping it at safe levels will help you live a longer and healthier life. The A1C test reflects your blood sugar control over the previous several months, so it’s good practice to take a new one every three months. Diabetics should also remain vigilant about checking their blood pressure. Try to keep it below 130/80, according to the National Institute of Health.

Create a meal plan
Devise a well-balanced meal plan to give you peace of mind and help your blood sugar levels to remain on target. Whenever possible, meals should contain the right combination of fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats and starches. You should also learn to eat healthy portion sizes and include ingredient measurements them in your meal plan. Ask your health care team for help developing the right meal plan for you.

Exercise regularly
The National Institute of Health recommends regular physical activity as a key part of your diabetes management plan. While exercising, your muscles use glucose for energy, making it a great way to control blood sugar levels. Frequent physical activity will also improve your body’s response to insulin, and allow you to maintain a healthy weight. The condition of your heart and feet could make increased physical activity dangerous, so be sure to ask your doctor what type of exercise is appropriate for you.

Manage your medication
When diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to keep your blood sugar at the right levels, medication may be used to help. The effectiveness of most medications depends on the correct timing and size of the dose. Your doctor can help you learn about different medications and draw up a medicine schedule. Insulin must also be stored properly in order to guarantee its effectiveness.