Diabetic challenges

Managing daily conditions and concerns caused from diabetes.

When managing diabetes, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are the key factors in managing your diabetes. Unfortunately, high blood glucose levels can cause damage to just about every organ in your body. To make sure the complications don’t manage you, Michigan State University Extension recommends the following lifestyle tips as they relate to diabetic conditions.

Many doctors warn that seniors who experience low blood sugar are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. What can you do?

  • Eat healthy! Maintain a low-glycemic diet.
  • Take your medications correctly: on time and the right dosage.
  • Communicate with your doctor regularly and be an advocate for yourself.
  • Reduce stress levels by exercising, using breathing techniques and developing hobbies.
  • Exercise your mind: play games, read the newspaper, do crossword puzzles; all are excellent ways to keep your brain healthy.

Retinopathy is one of the most common visual complications associated with diabetes. Some of the characteristics of retinopathy are sealing of the macula and glaucoma. These complications can cause blindness, headaches and cataracts. Suggestions to offset these complications include:

  • Get a dilated eye exam every year. According to the American Diabetes Association, the exam will detect signs of early eye disease.
  • Control your blood pressure. Keep your A1C levels down, quit smoking and control your cholesterol levels.

Mouth infections and tooth and gum decay have more severe effects on people with diabetes. See a dentist twice a year. Follow these steps to healthier gums and teeth.

  • Have a routine for flossing, brushing and rinsing your teeth.
  • Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes.
  • Check your mouth regularly for problems.

Your bones, muscles, joints and tissues are classified under the musculoskeletal system. Poorly controlled blood glucose can affect the function of this system and cause problems such as carpal tunnel, Charcot foot, frozen shoulders and trigger fingers. Preventive measures you can take include:

  • Keep your blood sugars levels in control.
  • Visit a physical therapist as soon as you experience complications.
  • See your doctor on a regular basis.

The number one cause of kidney failure in the United States is diabetes. Early kidney disease has no symptoms and can become kidney failure if undetected. The good news is it can be treated effectively if detected early enough.

  • Control your blood pressure.
  • Keep cholesterol levels in a safe range.
  • Get screened for kidney disease. Look for signs of blood in the urine or burning during urination. Itchy skin and swelling of the face, hands and feet are a sign of high blood pressure.

Digestion issues are a common complication of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Delayed gastric emptying happens when stomach nerves are damaged and the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. Gastro paresis makes it hard to control blood glucose levels; be sure that every day you:

  • Keep your blood glucose levels in check.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of gastro paresis, such as vomiting and heartburn.

A continuous concern of people with diabetes is foot amputation. Other foot issues to be concerned about are foot ulcers and wounds, Charcot foot and peripheral neuropathy. Consistent diabetes management is the key to success. Manage these diabetic conditions by:

  • Maintain good blood glucose control.
  • Buy good fitting shoes.
  • Go to a podiatrist regularly.
  • Wear soft, thick socks.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

An estimated 57.9 percent of diabetics have complications. Stay on top of your health by following your health care provider’s recommendations. Live a long and happy life!

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