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    Diabetes: How to Lower Your Risk of Complications

    Ease Stress

    "When your body secretes adrenaline, which it does when you're stressed, your blood pressure and blood sugars go up," Cypress says.

    Long-term stress can lead to long-term high blood sugar.

    Cut out any sources of stress you can. Then carve out at least 15 minutes a day to do something that relaxes you. For example:

    • Meditate
    • Do deep breathing
    • Pray
    • Listen to music
    • Dance
    • Stretch
    • Volunteer
    • Enjoy a hobby or craft

    Get Enough Sleep

    Too little sleep raises your chances of weight gain and obesity. People who sleep for 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours also seem to have better control of their blood sugar.

    Check Your Feet

    High blood sugar can damage the nerves in your foot and cut blood flow in your feet. Foot sores that aren't treated can lead to serious infections. You may not feel them right away.

    Check your feet daily, especially between the toes. Look for blisters, broken skin, or warm or red spots. If you have a wound, treat it right away and keep your eye on it. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if things don’t get better or you see signs of infection.

    Take Care of Your Mouth

    Diabetes increases your chance of gum disease and infection. Brush well with a soft-bristled brush at least twice a day. You should also floss once or more each day.

    Get Year-Round Care

    At least twice a year, if your doctor advises it, you should:

    • Get an A1c test to measure your average blood sugar levels for the previous 2 or 3 months.
    • See your dentist for teeth cleaning and a checkup.

    At least once a year, if your doctor advises it, you should get a:

    • Dilated eye exam
    • Regular physical exam
    • Cholesterol test
    • Microalbumin and creatinine test to check for kidney damage
    • Flu shot

    Stay on top of other vaccines, like tetanus boosters and pneumonia shots, too. If you’re under age 60 and haven't had a hepatitis B vaccine, get one.

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    Reviewed on March 19, 2016

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