4. Take Steps to Manage Your Diabetes
Once you know more about living with diabetes, you're ready to put that knowledge into practice. A healthy lifestyle includes:
- Seeing your doctor two to four times a year
- Eating a balanced diet
- Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week
- Reaching and keeping a healthy weight
- Seeing your dentist at least twice a year
- Not smoking
- Getting eye and foot exams every year
5. Stop Diabetes Complications Before They Start
You can help prevent complications by controlling your diabetes with diet, medication, exercise, and regular checkups.
It’s also important to know the signs of some common complications:
Nerve damage (called diabetic neuropathy) often affects the feet and legs of people with diabetes. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, burning, cuts or sores that heal very slowly, and erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness.
Eye problems (called diabetic retinopathy) can result from damage to small blood vessels in the retina. Symptoms include sudden vision loss, blurry vision, eye pain or pressure, and spots before the eyes.
Kidney damage (called diabetic nephropathy) is a diabetes complication that can lead to dialysis or a kidney transplant. To rule out kidney damage, have your doctor check your blood pressure two to four times a year and your urine protein (microalbumin) at least once a year.
Heart disease and strokes are more likely if you have diabetes. The risks go up even higher if you smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of heart disease. Talk to your doctor about your risks for heart disease or stroke.
6. Get Help From Your Diabetes Health Care Team
Catching diabetes complications early can dramatically boost your chances of successful treatment. If you're concerned about something, talk to your doctor. Treatment may be as simple as a lifestyle change or an adjustment in medication.
Whether you have questions about diabetes or think you're experiencing diabetes complications, your diabetes health care team is there to help you continue to do the things you love with the people you care about.