Diabetes is a serious disease . Adhering to a diabetes treatment plan requires a lifelong commitment and health care. But your efforts are worth it . Taking care of your diabetes can reduce the risk of serious—even life-threatening—complications. Here are 10 ways to take an active role in your diabetes care and enjoy a healthy future.
1. Make a commitment to manage your diabetes
Members of your diabetes care team—primary care providers, diabetes care and education specialists, and dietitians, for example—can help you learn the basics of diabetes care, diabetes, and provide support. But it's up to you how you handle your situation.
Learn all about diabetes. Include healthy eating and physical activity in your daily routine. Maintain a healthy weight.
Monitor your blood sugar and follow your healthcare provider's instructions for managing your blood sugar. Take your medication as directed by your healthcare provider. If you need it, ask your diabetes care team for help.
2. Don't smoke
Avoid smoking or stop smoking if you smoke. Smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and the risk of several diabetes complications, including:
Reduced blood flow to the legs and feet, which can lead to infections, bad ulcers and possible amputations.
Better blood sugar control
Eye pain that can lead to blindness
An early death
Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to help you quit smoking or using other types of tobacco.
3. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control
Like diabetes, high blood pressure can damage your arteries. High cholesterol is also a problem because the resulting damage is often worse and faster if you have diabetes. When these conditions work together, they can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening conditions.
Eating a healthy diet low in fat and salt, avoiding excessive alcohol and exercising regularly can help control high blood pressure and cholesterol. Your healthcare provider may also recommend medication if needed.
4. Schedule regular physicals and eye exams
Schedule two to four diabetes checkups each year in addition to annual physicals and routine eye exams.
During a physical exam, your health care provider will ask about your nutrition and activity level and look for any diabetes-related complications—including signs of kidney damage, nerve damage, and heart disease—as well as check for other health problems. He will also check your feet for problems that require treatment.
Your eye specialist will check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma.
5. Keep your vaccinations up to date
Diabetes increases the risk of certain diseases. Routine vaccines help prevent this. Ask your healthcare provider about:
Flu vaccine. An annual flu vaccine can help you stay healthy during flu season and also prevent serious flu complications.
Pneumonia vaccine. Sometimes the pneumonia vaccine only requires one injection. If you have complications related to diabetes or if you are 65 or older, you need a booster dose.
Hepatitis B vaccine Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for adults with diabetes who have not received the vaccine and are younger than 60 years old. If you are 60 or older and have not received the hepatitis B vaccine, check with your healthcare provider if it is appropriate. for you. Other vaccines. Stay current on your tetanus shot (usually every 10 years). Your doctor may also recommend other vaccines.
6. Take care of your teeth
Diabetes can make you prone to gum infections. Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day, and schedule dental checkups at least twice a year. Call your dentist if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.
7. Pay attention to your feet
High blood sugar can reduce blood flow and damage the veins in your legs. If left untreated, ulcers and blisters can lead to serious infections. Diabetes can cause pain, tingling, or loss of feeling in the feet.
To prevent foot problems:
Wash your feet daily with warm water. Moisturize your feet as this can lead to dry skin.
Wash your feet, especially between the toes.
Moisturize your feet and ankles with cream or petroleum jelly. Do not put oils or creams between your toes - too much moisture can lead to infection.
Check your feet daily for calluses, blisters, sores, redness, or swelling.
Consult your doctor if you have an injury or other foot problem that does not improve within a few days. If you have a leg ulcer – an open wound – see your doctor immediately.
Do not walk barefoot, indoors or outdoors.
8. Consider daily aspirin
If you have diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking or high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend a small dose of aspirin each day to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you have no other cardiovascular risk factors, the risk of bleeding from taking aspirin may outweigh any benefits. Ask your doctor if daily aspirin therapy is right for you, including which strength of aspirin is best.
9. If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly
Alcohol can cause high or low blood sugar depending on how much you drink and whether you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation, which means no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Always drink with a meal or snack, and remember to count the calories from any alcohol you drink into your daily calorie count. Also remember that alcohol can lead to low blood sugar later, especially in people who take insulin.
10. Take stress seriously
When you're stressed, it's easy to neglect regular diabetes care. To manage your stress, set limits. Prioritize your tasks. Learn relaxation techniques.
Good night. And above all, stay positive. Diabetes care is in your control. If you're willing to do your part, diabetes can't stop you from living an active and healthy life.
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