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Diabetes is the seventh deadliest disease in the nation.

But that doesn’t mean that people living with diabetes can’t lead full, happy and healthy lives. All it takes is a little management.

That's where Lifescan's OneTouch® Brand systems come in handy. Monitoring blood sugar levels is a crucial component to managing diabetes, and no brand makes it easier than OneTouch®. With a host of simple features, OneTouch® allows users to test their blood sugar levels quickly and easily. Today, OneTouch® systems are the number one most prescribed brand by Endocrinologists and Primary Care Physicians, with over five million Americans depending on their accurate results.

Testing, however, is only part of the battle. To ensure that you live a complete life that isn't hindered by disease-related complications, it's important to be proactive about your health.

To reduce the risk of diabetes complications, incorporate these five tips into your daily life.

Eating right is a key component to managing diabetes, but often times what we eat can have an adverse effect on our blood sugar levels. As a rule of thumb, patients should limit carbohydrates and focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sugary beverages should be avoided, and portion size and meal times should be coordinated with your medication. To dial in your diet, speak to your doctor and a dietician.

Physical activity is a great way to decrease blood sugar levels. Exercise, especially cardio, forces your muscles to burn sugar and teaches your body to efficiently use insulin. Aim for 30 minutes a day, and talk to your doctor to see what type of activity is right for you. Also, make sure to monitor your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise, stay hydrated while working out and pack your glucose tablets.

When you're stressed, your body produces hormones that can spike your blood sugar levels. Cope with anxiety and other stress-related issues by hitting pause on your day and getting back to center, whether it's by doing some yoga, meditation, sitting down with a good book or whatever else is able to calm you. If symptoms persist, consult a psychologist to develop effective coping strategies.

Your liver is able to counterbalance hypoglycemia by releasing stored sugar. But if your liver is processing alcohol you might not get the blood sugar boost you need. Make sure your doctor says it is fine to drink alcohol, then stick to beverages with fewer calories like light beer and dry wine. If you want a cocktail, always opt for sugar-free mixers like club soda and seltzer, and never drink on an empty stomach. Before going to bed, be sure to check your blood sugar levels.

Of course medications like insulin can be an effective way to regulate blood sugar levels and help you manage your diabetes. Therefore, make sure they are effectively stored and not past their expiration dates. And if your doctor prescribes other medicines for unrelated medical conditions, be sure to ask how these medications will impact your blood sugar levels.

To learn more about how Lifescan's OneTouch® Brand systems can help you manage diabetes, click here.

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