Diabetes requires constant and consistent care. If care plans are followed properly, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing further health complications.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, it’s important to be aware of your potential risk of getting this disease. If you are at a high risk, it’s best to talk to your doctor and become better informed of proper diabetes care.
Some risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes include:
- Being overweight
- Being age 45 or older
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with Type 2 Diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
While your doctor can provide you with a specific care plan to manage your diabetes, there are steps you can take to further care for yourself. We put together a list of these steps to simplify the process for you.
This list is not all-inclusive, but it includes 5 different tips to consider in your diabetes management plan:
1. Control blood pressure and cholesterol
High blood pressure combined with type 2 diabetes can lead to complications and can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Additionally, this combination can increase your risk of kidney disease and retinopathy.
Diabetes can also have a negative impact on your cholesterol. It typically will lower your levels of “good” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and raise your levels of “bad” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein). In turn, this can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
In order to maintain a healthy blood pressure and healthy cholesterol levels, it’s important to eat a nutritious, low-fat diet in combination with regular exercise. Your doctor may also prescribe medication if needed. Be sure to speak with your doctor to learn about the best care plan for you.
2. Schedule regular doctor’s appointments
According to Mayo Clinic, diabetes patients should schedule two to four diabetes checkups per year, on top of a yearly physical exam and regular eye exams.
These extra checkups are crucial in managing diabetes properly and staying on top of any potential issues. Doctors will be able to check for any complications including kidney damage, nerve damage, heart disease, and more.
Diabetes also puts you at higher risk for eye problems, which makes it especially important to visit the eye doctor regularly. Problems can arise such as blurry vision, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. WebMD stresses that you call your doctor if you experience black spots in your vision, flashes of light, “holes” in your vision, or blurred vision.
3. Maintain proper foot care
Diabetes not only can have a negative impact on your vision, but it can also cause damage to your feet. High blood sugar can cause nerve damage to your feet due to reduced blood flow. Over time, this can further lead to pain, infection, and slow healing wounds. An infection may even become so severe that it can lead to amputation.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent such serious consequences:
- Check your feet for any redness, sores, or swelling. If any sores or swelling does not ease up within a few days, consult your doctor for the best care plan. See your doctor immediately if you have an open sore on your foot.
- Moisturize your feet daily. Make sure to moisturize your feet and ankles, but take caution because excess moisture can quickly lead to infections. To avert infection, be sure to avoid putting lotion between your toes.
- Don’t ever go barefoot. Whether you are outside or inside, always wear comfortable and proper footwear. Sometimes this footwear may include special sprinting or bracing, depending on what your doctor suggests. Walking barefoot on pavement can cause damage, especially when it’s hot enough to burn you.
4. Avoid smoking.
Smoking will not only increase your risk of diabetes, but it also increases your risk of complications with diabetes. These complications include:
- Reduced blood flow to the extremities, which can lead to infections
- Heart disease
- Eye problems, including blindness
- Nerve damage
- Kidney disease
- Premature death
If you are a smoker, it’s important to seek help from your doctor immediately in order to give yourself a healthier life. Your doctor can provide you with the best plan to help you quit smoking.
5. Manage stress
Diabetes can typically cause a lot of stress due to the intense daily management that goes into caring for the disease. Stress can take a huge toll on people, but even more so on people with diabetes.
This is because the stress hormones can have a direct impact on glucose levels. When your body works to fight against the stress and cannot convert the glucose into energy, it starts to build up in your bloodstream. This, in turn, causes your blood glucose levels to rise.
These complications with glucose levels can also cause mental and physical exhaustion over time. It’s essential that you learn how to manage your stress early on to reduce the obstacles that can arise. Healthline suggests the following tips for stress management:
- Meditate daily to relieve mental stress.
- Remove yourself immediately from situations that cause emotional stress.
- Add yoga into your daily routine to lower your blood pressure and provide you with relaxation.
Turn to diabetes support groups – either online or in person – to exchange specific tips with others going through the same thing
Always remember that you can seek help if you are unable to care for yourself. In Home Personal Services offers Diabetes Specialty Services. Through these services, our trained caregivers assist in the daily care and management of diabetes. They can make your day to day life a little easier, which can eliminate a lot of stress and worry that you may have.