- Keep blood sugar levels under maximum control.
Increased blood sugar levels can affect your health in various ways, paving the way for numerous complications that generally belong to any one of these categories:
- Macrovascular disease that affects the small blood vessels of the body (such as the ones in the eyes and kidneys).
- Macrovascular disease that affects the body’s larger blood vessels leading to heart disease, stroke and blockages in leg arteries.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) that primarily affects the feet and impairs other organ systems including the intestines, bladder and heart resulting in altered digestion, arrhythmias, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
A HbA1c level greater than 7% or higher indicates for a change in therapy.
2. Maintain blood pressure within the 140/90 mm Hg range.
Ideal blood pressure is 120/80. Normal blood pressure levels are insisted to decrease the rate of progression of kidney damage. Decreasing salt intake and maintaining a healthy weight helps to keep your BP levels under control. Physicians prescribe ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers to control high blood pressure in people with diabetes.
3. Keep cholesterol at healthy levels.
Maintain LDL (bad) cholesterol under 100 mg/dL and HDL (good) cholesterol over 40 mg/dL in the case of men and over 50 mg/dL in the case of women. Keep your triglyceride levels under 150 mg/dL.
Nutrition experts and physicians insist on these levels strongly to prevent heart disease. Blood pressure has no symptoms and hence, checking blood pressure levels regularly is recommended for good health. A fasting blood test measures your LDL, HDL, total cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels. Any signs of chest pain or breathing troubles which can indicate heart disease or discomfort in the jaw and arms during or after any activity or dizziness should never be taken lightly and must be given attention immediately.
4. Diabetic patients should take great care of their feet
Decreased blood flow from the blocked arteries to the foot can nullify pain sensation and disrupt the body’s infection fighters. Peripheral and autonomic neuropathy are common diabetes complications. Hence, people with diabetes should check their feet and toes daily to notice any possible injury. Given here are few basic steps that can help a diabetic person take care of his/her feet:
- Look at your feet every single day. Examine your feet daily to see if you’ve cut or bruised it without your own realization. Look for any growths or discoloration as these could mean poor circulation or a fractured bone.
- Keep your feet clean. Wash your feet every day and dry them too. Use a moisturizing cream or foot powder to keep your feet dry. Cut your nails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails that can otherwise lead to infection.
- Wear a protective layer over your feet. Always wear socks and use shoes with ample cushioning. Avoid any pointed heels or shoes that prove to be uncomfortable. If you must wear them, limit the time they stay on your feet.
- Maintain healthy weight. If you are overweight, it is better to lose some weight as every extra kilogram increases the pressure on your feet. All individuals with diabetes are advised to exercise regularly to improve circulation. Such individuals are also advised to quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption as these can impair nerves already at risk for diabetes. It is suggested to drink no more than two drinks in the case of men and one drink in the case of women. If you are affected with diabetes and struggling to lose weight, you can get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to help you customize a healthy diet plan to control diabetes and lose weight, the healthier way.
- When to meet a doctor? Diabetes complication paves way for many other complications as well, So, if you have any foot problems, its essential to meet a doctor and avoid any self-medication at home.
5. Visit your doctor regularly to assess your health status.
On every visit of yours to the doctor, be sure to check for the presence of any diabetes complications and ways to reduce your risk of complications. Some appointments that should never be missed include:
- A visit to the endocrinologist every 3 to 6 months to check your blood pressure, weight and feet.
- A visit to the dentist twice a year.
- Meeting the optometrist/ophthalmologist for a dilated eye examination annually or bi-annually.
- Visit to the podiatrist annually to check for infections, calluses, infections, sores and loss of feeling.
Along with these, it is mandatory to get your A1C tested at least twice a year along with urine and blood tests done to check for kidney problems. Additionally, get a flu shot as well as pneumonia shot.