6. Take care of your teeth

Diabetes may leave you prone to gum infections. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss your teeth once a day and schedule dental exams at least twice a year. Call your dentist if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.

7. Pay attention to your feet

High blood sugar can reduce blood flow and damage the nerves in your feet. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can lead to serious infections. Diabetes can lead to pain, tingling or loss of sensation in your feet.

To prevent foot problems:

  • Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water. Avoid soaking your feet, as this can lead to dry skin.
  • Dry your feet gently, especially between the toes.
  • Moisturize your feet and ankles with lotion or petroleum jelly. Do not put oils or creams between your toes — the extra moisture can lead to infection.
  • Check your feet daily for calluses, blisters, sores, redness or swelling.
  • Consult your doctor if you have a sore or other foot problem that doesn't start to heal within a few days.

8. Consider a daily aspirin

Taking a low dose of aspirin every day may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Ask your doctor whether daily aspirin therapy is appropriate for you, including which strength of aspirin would be best.

9. If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly

Alcohol can cause high or low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and whether you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation and always with a meal. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count.

10. Take stress seriously

If you're stressed, it's easy to neglect your usual diabetes care routine. The hormones your body may produce in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly, which only makes matters worse. To take control, set limits. Prioritize your tasks. Learn relaxation techniques. Get plenty of sleep.

Above all, stay positive. Diabetes care is within your control. If you're willing to do your part, diabetes won't stand in the way of an active, healthy life.

Dec. 18, 2014 See more In-depth