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Diabetes Health Center

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How to Prevent Diabetes Complications

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If you have diabetes, you spend a lot of time keeping it under control. That’s good because it can cause a lot of complications that can affect nearly every organ in your body.Learn what you can do to prevent these problems.

Heart Disease

This is one of the most common diabetes complications. In office visits, your doctor may do tests that screen for heart disease to help you prevent serious problems. At every visit, he’ll check your blood pressure. He’ll probably test your blood for cholesterol level and triglycerides at your first visit. And he should do an EKG as part of a complete medical record. Learn more about your risks for heart disease. Does it run in your family? Do you smoke? Make a prevention plan that includes weight loss, regular exercise, and stress management, as well as keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides at normal levels.

For more detail, see Heart Disease and Diabetes.


Symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Sudden weakness on one side of the face or body
  • Numbness in the face, arm, or leg
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble seeing
  • Dizziness

If you have any of these, see a doctor immediately. He may refer you to a neurologist or other stroke specialist.

For more detail, see Stroke and Diabetes.

Kidney Disease (Diabetic Nephropathy)

If you have diabetes, get your urine tested every year to look for kidney disease. Your doctor should do a creatinine blood test to check how these organs are working. He’ll also check your blood pressure regularly. It's key to slowing this disease. Your reading should be less than 130/80.

For more detail, see Diabetic Nephropathy.

Nerve Damage (Diabetic Neuropathy)

Over time, diabetes can cause nerve damage. You might feel numbness, burning, or pain in your hands, feet, or legs. If your skin loses feeling, you may not notice small wounds that could grow to become bigger ones. Check these parts of your body daily for redness, calluses, cracks, or other damage. If you notice any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away.

For more detail, see Diabetic Neuropathy.

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