Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.

There are a lot of things to pay attention to when you have type 2 diabetes, especially when you’re first diagnosed. In this article, Sharon Howard, a registered dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator, tells us about five of the most common mistakes that people with type 2 diabetes make.

1. Cutting out white food

Many newly diagnosed people are told by their doctors to “cut out all white foods.” While lots of “white foods” aren’t great for our blood sugar, this advice doesn’t do much good if it isn’t paired with sound advice about the types of carbohydrates and the amounts you should be eating. Gorging on whole wheat options without eating a nutritionally balanced diet won’t improve your blood sugars. Make sure to speak with a dietician to get a total carbohydrate goal for your day.

2. Misuse of your glucose monitor

It’s important to monitor your blood glucose throughout the day to get a good picture of how your body is handling the food you’re consuming and the exercise you’re adding to your day. Regular blood checks, and logging that information, are essential habits. Be sure to guard your meter against extreme temperature changes, and don’t use expired test strips.

3. Know your goals

Do you know what your fasting blood glucose should be? How about your A1c? Ask your doctor or CDE what your personal goals are so that you can better understand how best to control your diabetes.

4. Medication mistakes

It’s important to take your medication as prescribed. Don’t skip dosages, and try to take your medication on a regular schedule.

5. Don’t overtreat a low blood sugar

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can leave you feeling shaky and disoriented. If you’re taking glucose-lowering medication or are just beginning a new exercise routine, you might experience low blood sugar. Instead of inhaling mass quantities of something sugary, follow the Rule of 15: Check your blood sugar and if it’s low, consume 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates. Wait 15 minutes and test again. If your blood sugar is still low, repeat until your glucose is at 100 mg/dl or higher.

To learn more about this topic:

Five Common Mistakes People With Chronic Diseases Make, Part 1
Five Common Mistakes People With Chronic Diseases Make, Part 2
Five Common Mistakes People With Chronic Diseases Make, Part 3