Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes Complications

Diabetes can be a manageable disease when proper precautions are taken.

However, diabetics may develop serious complications if they don't take an active role in disease management.

There are some lifestyle strategies that can help individuals with diabetes to prevent dangerous complications and enjoy an otherwise healthy life.

Tips for Reducing the Risk of Diabetes Complications

Stop smoking. Many diabetics take up smoking as a habit to help them lose weight, but the dangerous side effects of cigarettes are much more harmful than a few extra pounds. Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, and kidney disease. Diabetics who smoke are three times more likely to die of heart complications than nonsmoking diabetics. If you are having trouble quitting on your own, ask your doctor for treatment recommendations and alternative tobacco sources.

Watch your blood pressure and cholesterol. High blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, which are already weak in most diabetics. The combination of diabetes and high blood pressure can cause heart attacks. Cholesterol also limits the ability of your heart to pump oxygen through your blood. These conditions are easily avoided with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Get your eyes checked. Diabetes can, in some cases, cause blindness due to damaged blood vessels in the eyes. If you notice any vision changes, or you just want to keep your eye health in check, schedule yearly optometrist visits. Your doctor can screen for signs of retina damage, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Update your immune system. Make sure you get the yearly flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis vaccines as they become available. Diabetics have weakened immune systems, making them more susceptible to life-threatening viruses than others. In addition, eat a diet high in vitamins and minerals to strengthen your natural response to illness.

Visit your dentist and podiatrist. Diabetics are prone to gum infections, so consult your dentist if you notice any difference or pain in your gums. They are also prone to foot damage and infections, so it is important to pay close attention to your feet and care for them accordingly. Wash them regularly, keep them dry (but use lotion when needed), check for cuts and blisters, and consult a doctor if there is any foot problem that persists. Diabetics have weaker blood flow through the appendages, so the toes are often the first body parts to get infected.

Relax. Stress weakens the immune system, prevents insulin from working properly, and may cause you to neglect your usual diabetes care routine. Keep a tight schedule of when to check your blood sugar, inject insulin, and eat meals. Learn relaxation techniques, and remember to get plenty of sleep. A good attitude goes a long way toward a healthy life!

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

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