When it comes to managing diabetes, it means more than just getting your blood sugar levels under control. Diabetes is associated with a number of complications such as heart, nerve and foot problems, but can be avoided (or at least delayed) with a proper action plan. Here’s what you can do right.

1. Eat Smart
A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean that you have to cut carbs out completely, although keeping a track on your carbohydrate intake is necessary. Choose foods that break down slowly in the body, providing a steady supply of energy. Fill your pantry with whole grains, nuts, fresh green vegetables, fruits and lean protein. (Related Slideshow: 5 Superfoods For A Healthy Diabetic Diet)

2. Lose Those Extra Pounds
If you’re overweight, you may want to lose those extra pounds to manage your diabetes better. Shedding just a few pounds can improve the body’s ability to utilize insulin as well as manage blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of heart and foot issues. (Related Slideshow: Weight Loss 101: Learn How To Snack Smart)

3. Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep deprivation can trigger food cravings that can largely affect your health and blood sugar levels. Getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep on a daily basis not only decreases your risk of heart attack, but also improves blood sugar levels. (Related Article: 8 Ways To Sleep Tight)

4. Be Active
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the main culprits for diabetes. Regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your stress levels, thus influencing healthy levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Start slow—walking, biking, dancing, swimming or low impact aerobics all work well.

5. Take Care Of Your Feet
Make it a habit to check your feet twice daily for any wounds or fissures. If you discover a bump or bruise, treat it immediately. If left untreated, cuts and blisters can lead to serious infections. Always wear well-fitting shoes and socks. Moisturize regularly to prevent cracks. (Related Article: 8 Cool Ways To Indulge Your Feet)

6. Let Go Of The Stress
Stress can hamper your overall health and, if you’re a diabetic, you should be extra careful. Excess stress can fiddle with your blood sugar levels that can serve as a trigger for several diabetes-related complications. Try to get rid of what’s bothering you physically or mentally. Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can help you effectively reduce stress. (Related Article: De-Stress Naturally With Aromatherapy)

7. Kick The Habit
The ill effects of smoking are known to all. Apart from affecting your lungs, it also interferes with your normal heart function and blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about devising a ‘quit’ plan for you right away. Here’s your self-help guide to kick the butt naturally. (Related Article: How Kicking The Butt Changes Your Body)

8. Don’t Neglect Your Eyes
Diabetes greatly affects the eyes and can result in serious vision problems. It is highly recommended to take the dilated eye exam once every year. If you have any concerns related to your eye health, talk to your doctor immediately. (Related Slideshow: Get Healthy Eyesight With These 5 Foods)

A healthy lifestyle comprising of healthy eating habits, adequate sleep and exercise, and low stress levels can all help avoid complications associated with diabetes.

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