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Diabetes: 5 Steps to Total Body Care

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5 Steps to Total Diabetes Body Care continued...

Other skin conditions are caused by poor blood supply and some by your body's resistance to using insulin.

Rashes, bumps, and blisters can also occur; some require treatment, some don't. You need to know which is which and get them treated when necessary.

For instance, eruptive xanthomatosis, a skin condition, is caused by high cholesterol and fat levels in the blood. It appears on the backs of arms, legs, and buttocks as firm, yellow, waxy, pea-like bumps which are typically itchy and surrounded by red halos. Medication to control fat levels in the blood help, as does controlling blood sugar.

Prevention tips: Boost your body's ability to fight infection, and help prevent dry skin, by controlling you blood sugar. Use talcum powder in areas prone to infections and use moisturizing lotions and soaps when needed. (Don't put lotions between toes; extra moisture there can trigger fungus growth.)

And remember, see your doctor for treatment of skin problems that won't go away -- especially foot problems and fungal infections. These can be very serious, and require treatment with prescription medication.

3. Eye Care and Diabetes

Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to serious preventable problems like cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy.

  • With a cataract, the eye's lens becomes cloudy, blurring vision. While anyone can get cataracts, they may develop at an earlier age -- and progress more quickly -- if you have diabetes.
  • Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds inside the eye due to fluid not draining properly. The pressure damages the eye's nerves and blood vessels, harming vision.
  • Retinopathy is caused by blood vessel damage in the eyes, and if not diagnosed and treated early, can lead to blindness.

Prevention tips: Prevent these problems from becoming serious by making sure your blood sugar is under control and see an eye doctor for an annual exam.

4. Teeth and Gum Care with Diabetes

Most people develop gum problems during their lives but, if you have diabetes, your risks are higher for serious gum disease -- and for getting it at an earlier age.

That's because, with diabetes, your body is more vulnerable to bacteria and infection. High blood sugar levels can make gum disease worse, resulting in bleeding, tender gums, and gums that pull away from teeth. In time, you may need gum surgery to save your teeth.

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