6 Strategies for Controlling Diabetes
4. Learn How to Manage Your Diabetes
Once you know more about living with diabetes, it’s important to put that knowledge into practice. A healthy lifestyle with diabetes includes:
- Seeing your doctor two to four times a year
- Eating a balanced diet
- Getting 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Seeing your dentist at least twice a year
- Not smoking
- Getting eye and foot exams every year
5. Stop Diabetes Complications Before They Start
Complications don't have to be part of living with diabetes. You can help prevent problems by controlling your diabetes with diet, medication, exercise, and regular checkups. It’s important to also know the signs of some common diabetes complications, which include:
- Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) often affects the feet and legs of people with diabetes. Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, burning, cuts or sores that heal very slowly, and erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness.
- Eye problems (diabetic retinopathy) can be the result of damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. Signs may include sudden vision loss, blurry vision, eye pain or pressure, and spots before the eyes.
- Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) is a diabetes complication that can lead to the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant. To rule out kidney damage, have your doctor check your blood pressure two to four times a year and your urine protein (microalbumin) at least once a year.
- Heart disease and stroke risks are greater for people living with diabetes. The risks go up even higher if you smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of heart disease. Talk to your doctor to understand your risks for heart disease or stroke.
6. Get Help From Your Diabetes Health Care Team
Catching diabetes complications early can dramatically boost your chances of successful treatment. So if you're worried about your health, don't wait for things to get worse. Talk to your doctor. Treatment may be as simple as a lifestyle change or an adjustment in medication.
Whether you have questions about diabetes or think you're experiencing diabetes complications, your diabetes health care team is there to help you continue to do the things you love with the people you care about.