Diabetes is a chronic disease that needs to be controlled. Managing diabetes does not stop at controlling your blood sugars; more is needed. Here are 10 must read tips to avoid diabetes complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, amputations, kidney disease and stroke.
- Keep your blood glucose level under control.
Managing your blood sugar levels is an essential aspect in reducing the risks of diabetes complications. It is crucial to check your blood glucose levels at different times of the day by doing blood glucose tests. This will significantly help monitor and stabilize blood sugar close to normal levels. It is good to record your blood glucose test results in a blood glucose diary. This will help you to understand the results trend, assisting you to reduce the chances of getting diabetic complications.
Get AIC tests to find out your average blood sugar for the first two months. It is crucial always to ask your doctor to do an A1C test. People with type 2 diabetes usually aim at 7% or lower than this.
Many diabetes education courses are being offered online and also face to face induction. These courses are meant to help individuals with diabetes to understand healthy habits to enable them have better control of diabetes. If you have never been to a diabetes course, talk to your doctor about enrolling in one.
Regular exercise makes your muscles to utilize more glucose in your blood. Over time it blood sugar levels is controlled close to normal levels. People with type 2 diabetes are prone to long-term complications, particularly heart problems. This is because they have too much glucose in their bloodstream or they are insulin resistant. Physical exercise is also known to boost insulin sensitivity in the body. Regular exercise is also known to have other health benefits; lowers blood pressure, controls body weight, strengthens bones, good sleep, better stress management and increased level of good cholesterol. You also need to be cautious about your blood sugar levels to avoid hypoglycemia. You can take some glucose gels or a snack so you can take should you experience these symptoms of hypoglycemia during exercise
Let your doctor know about your daily nutrition and activity level and check for any diabetes complications including heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, eye damage and stroke. Your doctor can also diagnose you for other health-related problems. It is recommended to have at least two and half hours of strenuous activity every day.
- Avoid Smoking.
Smoking is known to cause type 2 diabetes. The more you smoke, the higher chances of getting type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes who smoke are prone to get complications than nonsmokers. Smoking makes it hard to control diabetes, and it increases your risk of getting severe diabetes complications. These complications include:
- Kidney disease. Smoking and drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing kidney disease.
- Heart disease. Smoking speeds the progression of heart disease.
- Peripheral Nerve damage (peripheral neuritis). Neuropathy causes numbness, tingling pain, and poor coordination, usually in your hands and feet. If not attended to early, it can also affect other areas of the body.
- Poor blood circulation in the legs and feet. This is as a result of narrowing of arteries making the legs cold and changing color. Reduced blood flow can lead to infections, ulcers and in mild cases, it can lead to amputation.
- Retinopathy (eye disease). This can lead to partial or total blindness.
If you are an individual with diabetes, who smokes, quitting smoking will have numerous benefits to your health. Some of the benefits of stopping smoking include improvement of blood circulation in just two weeks after quitting smoking, if you have a wound, the wound would heal as a result of the increased flow of blood to tissues and also you will be able to cover or walk long distances without stopping.
- Drink alcohol responsibly.
People who have been diagnosed with diabetes have to be carefully when it comes to consumption of alcohol. Alcohol can cause high or low blood sugar depending on the amount you consume. It is recommended that diabetic women take only one drink a day and two drinks for men with diabetes. Alcoholic drinks such as wine contain carbs that are broken down into glucose. Drinking more than recommended can increase your blood sugar levels rapidly.
Alcohol consumption also lowers blood sugar levels by slowing down the liver. This means that the liver is taking more time and energy to break down alcohol that would have otherwise been used to release of glucose. This will alter the function of the liver of releasing stored glucose in the case of deficiency of glucose in the blood. This could lead to dangerously low blood glucose levels.
A Recent study shows that alcohol consumption worsens nerve damage, swelling of blood vessels in the eye, reduces the effectiveness of insulin medication and sometimes it makes one to feel hungry than usual.
If you choose to drink, do not drink more than recommended. It is also important to always take it with a meal. For diabetic individuals who want to quit drinking, you should consult qualified personnel.
- Eating a healthy diet
People with diabetes are advised to eat plenty of vegetables and legumes. The vegetables and legumes include chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans. It is also healthy to pick fresh foods and try as much as possible to avoid processed food. Include little high fiber carbs such as whole grain. Also, try protein sources and low-fat products. Eat foods with low salt content. Reducing the serving size will help you maintain a healthy body weight. Healthy eating can help to maintain good health, maintain healthy blood pressure and maintain healthy body weight among other benefits.
It is recommended that you see your dietician who can help you to develop a healthy eating regimen which is just right and comfortable for you.
- Take good care of your feet.
People with diabetes are prone to complications. Some of the common complications are reduced or poor blood flow to the feet and damage of nerves (peripheral neuropathy). Poor circulation in the feet may be as a result of narrowing of blood arteries. Damage to nerves results in loss of sensation and tingling pain in feet.This could lead to ulcers, blisters, and even serious infections.
To take better care of your feet:
- Wash your feet in warm water using mild soap daily. It is not advisable to soak your feet as it can lead to dry skin.
- Dry your feet gently, particularly between the toes.
- Moistures your feet with lotion but do not apply lotion between your feet. Using a diabetic foot cream is referred to lotion because it is much thicker. Over-moisturizing can lead to infections.
- Check your doctor every day for calluses and blisters.
- Do not wear open shoes to avoid chances of getting injured or bruised.
- Wear fitting closed shoes.
- Trim your toenails. Trimming nails helps to prevent unnecessary accidents that would result in a bruise.
- Consult your doctor in case of abnormal manifestations on your foot.
- Pay attention to your teeth.
Diabetic individuals are prone to gum infections than non-diabetics. Recent studies show that diabetes lowers the body immunity making the teeth and gums exposed to infections.it is advisable to brush your teeth thrice a day or at least two times a day. Floss your teeth once a day to make them strong and healthy. Schedule at least three or more dental checkups with your dentist. Visit your dentist in case of Reddening of gums, swollen gums or bleeding gums.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension can lead to many diabetes-related complications. Some of the complications include retinopathy (diabetic eye disease) and kidney disease. For individuals with hypertension, this means that blood is being pumped through the heart and blood vessels with a lot of force. Hypertension is most common among people with type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown a two-way relationship between type2 diabetes and high blood pressure.it is thought that a diet rich in fat and sodium contribute significantly to both complications. A Recent study shows that about 25% of people with type 1 diabetes and 80% of people with type2 diabetes have a high blood pressure.
Diabetic individuals suffering from hypertension are more likely to get coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and severe hardening of the arteries in the legs and feet. What is the normal blood pressure? Blood pressure levels differ, but for diabetic people, blood pressure should be below 130 over 80. It should not go beyond 140 over 90 as this would be dangerous for your health. When it comes to preventing diabetic complications, maintaining healthy blood sugar is essential for your blood sugar levels. People with diabetes can control hypertension with healthy lifestyle habits, i.e., exercise and low-fat diet. Individuals with diabetes can manage their blood pressure at home by monitoring using blood pressure monitor. It is also good to talk to your doctor about your blood pressure.
Cholesterol is also another important factor that should not be underestimated. Diabetes is known to lower good cholesterol levels and raise triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of a heart disease and even stroke. Learning how to control and treat abnormal cholesterol levels is crucial for maintaining a healthy life.
- Manage stress.
Stress affects people differently. People with diabetes are commonly affected by stress. They are most likely to have poor glucose control. Stress hormones in your body may directly affect glucose levels. When one is stressed, the body releases stress hormones, increasing the respiratory rate. Your body may not process the glucose if you have diabetes. The glucose cannot be taken up by the cells. It accumulates in the bloodstream and causes your blood glucose levels to rise.
It is important to take better control of your stress to avoid diabetic complications. Diabetic individuals who experience constant stress, over time they may be unable to manage their diabetes condition well. This will deteriorate their blood sugar control leading to unhealthy life.
- Attend all diabetic forums, screening, and reviews.
Getting to attend a diabetic forum is a good idea. It gives you the chance to get to interact and learn from people who have a longer experience with diabetes.
Reviews and screenings are also critical in avoiding diabetic complications. Complications can be easily treated at early stages. This will assist to better the chance of getting any condition under control. If you notice any symptoms, do not hesitate report to your doctor.
Diabetes control is a lifelong responsibility. Putting these simple ways into habits is essential. This will significantly help to avoid diabetes-related complications.