Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Diabetes: How to Lower Your Risk of Complications

By Camille Peri
WebMD Feature

Having diabetes doesn't automatically put you on the road to complications like heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure, says Robert E. Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. A healthy lifestyle, along with insulin treatments, can keep your risk low for these conditions.

To lower your risk, he says, take control of your:

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Gary Hall's Toughest Competitor: Diabetes

It was the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Eight of the top swimmers in the world were lined up, ready to hit the pool for the 50-meter freestyle. The buzzer sounded. They propelled themselves into the water. In just under 22 seconds, the race was over. American Gary Hall Jr. had won gold, tying with teammate Anthony Ervin for the medal. Only a few elite athletes can claim a gold win at the Olympic Games, but what makes Hall's achievement even more exceptional is that he did it only a...

Read the Gary Hall's Toughest Competitor: Diabetes article > >

Follow a simple daily care plan to help keep complications away.

Check Your Blood Sugar

Daily finger sticks help you and your doctor see how well your blood sugar is controlled. Adjustments can be made to manage it better if need be.

  • Ask your doctor when and how often to check, and what your target numbers should be.
  • Keep a log with dates, times, and blood sugar numbers to share with your care team.
  • Learn what steps you can take to adjust your routine when blood sugar levels are off target.

Eat Right

Eating well can help you stay at a healthy weight, lose weight, or lower your cholesterol or blood pressure. A nutritionist or diabetes educator can work with you to create a meal plan that spreads carbohydrates throughout the day and fits with your lifestyle.

You should also:

  • Make vegetables half of every meal.
  • Keep healthy snacks handy, like celery and peanut butter, instead of junk food.
  • Consider prepackaged meals that tell you exactly how many calories you're eating.

Move Your Body

Regular exercise helps you control your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

If you're not used to exercising:

Try brisk walks. "Even if you have bad arthritis or back pain, most people can walk 15 minutes twice a day," says Marjorie Cypress, PhD, RN, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association.

Find ways to fit in exercise. Maybe you can wake up 15 minutes earlier to walk in the morning, and do another session on your lunch hour, for example. Or lift hand weights or march in place while you're watching TV.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
kenneth fujioka, md
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Article
 
Middle aged person
Tool
Home Healthcare
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
feet
Slideshow