Diabetes Complications
Seven Tips for Avoiding Them

Diabetes complications in your eyes and feet can be avoided if you know how. There are things you can do to protect yourself from the consequences of being diabetic.

Type 2 diabetes does damage to your body because you have too much glucose in your blood.

This damage does not happen quickly, so you may not notice it for a while. But over time the results can be blindness, kidney disease and amputation.

These seven tips to avoid diabetes complications are simple and basic, but they have worked for other diabetics, so they will work for you.

1. Become an Expert on Diabetes

Diabetes education arms you with an understanding of what causes it and what you can do about it.

You see the importance of good blood sugar numbers on your hemoglobin A1C. You know why exercise and a low glycemic diet are your best weapons against diabetes complications.

You can become an expert on diabetes.

You will learn why smoking increases heart problems for diabetics more than for other people.

Doctors say a diabetic heart has the same risks as a person who has had a heart attack. Diabetics who smoke are three times more likely to die of heart disease.

You will also understand the risk you face from drinking alcohol without food or drinking too much.

Alcohol can have a profound effect on blood sugar. Knowing this will protect you from facing diabetic coma that is the result of alcohol abuse.

What you know can help you make better decisions.

2. Watch Your Blood Pressure

The target ranges for blood pressure and cholesterol are lower for you than for people without diabetes.

This is because doctors know that a lower blood pressure protects you from diabetes complications in your heart and blood vessels.

Take the medications he gives you for blood pressure control and for lowering cholesterol. Being on the meds means you will need regular blood tests to monitor your liver and kidneys, but you need them.

It is good to know that the same weight loss and exercise that give you better blood sugar will also lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Then you will not need the cholesterol and blood pressure medications because your heart is no longer at higher risk.

3. Get Yearly Exams

Yearly eye exams from an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) will protect you from the diabetes complications of retinopathy, macular degeneration and cataracts.

If you develop problems he will catch them before the damage is permanent. Protecting your eyes became a high priority when you developed type 2 diabetes.

Because you are diabetic you need yearly physicals. The three-month checkups do not count. Yearly exams let your doctors catch the progression of those sneaky diabetes complications in your eyes, feet and heart.

4. Take Care of Your Teeth

Diabetes affects your teeth. Brushing, flossing and massaging your gums are an important part of your diabetes care.

Visit your dentist at least once or twice a year, sooner if you see any changes. Bleeding or swelling in your gums is a danger sign.

Like vision changes, problems with your teeth are warnings that your blood sugar is not being well controlled.

5. Guard Your Feet

What makes good shoes for diabetics.

Your feet are the first to show signs of diabetic complications, so protect them. They need special shoes and socks that are made for diabetics.

Foot pain, tingling and numbness, fungal infections, dry skin and sweaty feet are some of the things you may deal with.

 Inspect your feet every time you bathe. Doctors say this one habit will lower your risk of amputation by 80%.

Find a good podiatrist for nail trimming and foot care. These are things you cannot do on your own because damage takes too long to heal in diabetic feet.

6. Take an Aspirin a Day

Talk to your doctor about taking one every day. He will tell you how much you should take, 81 mg or a full size aspirin.

Aspirin is a natural blood thinner, and diabetics need it because of our high risk for blood vessel and heart disease.

Blood clots are a common result of high blood sugar because it damages blood vessels, and aspirin is the first defense. If you cannot take aspirin your doctor will give you another option.

7. Control Stress

How you handle the stress of being diabetic will affect your diabetes complications.

Chronic stress is a serious side effect of dealing with this disease that is often overlooked.

It can worsen all of your other complications, so dealing with stress has to be a priority. The page on stress gives ideas on how to do that.

Go back to the home page for more advice and encouragement.

Face Diabetes Head On

These seven tips will help you avoid the things we dread as we age with type 2 diabetes.

Blindness and amputations are no longer an outcome of diabetes that you have to accept. You can avoid them.

Do not just live with the annoying complications that make you miserable. Face them and do what you can to feel better on your journey.

  • "Instead of giving myself reasons why I cannot, I give myself reasons why I can."

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