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. Consult your dentist right away if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.

7. Pay attention to your feet.

High blood sugar can damage the nerves in your feet and reduce blood flow to your feet. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can lead to serious infections. To prevent foot problems:

  • Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water.
  • Dry your feet gently, especially between the toes.
  • Moisturize your feet and ankles with lotion.
  • Check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, 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.

Aspirin reduces your blood's ability to clot. Taking a daily aspirin can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke — major concerns when you have diabetes. 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 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.

Jan. 24, 2012 See more In-depth