4. Take Steps to Manage Your Diabetes
Once you know more about living with the condition, you're ready to put that knowledge into practice. A healthy lifestyle includes:
- See your doctor two to four times a year.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Reach and keep a healthy weight.
- See your dentist at least twice a year.
- Don't smoke.
- Get eye and foot exams every year.
5. Stop Complications Before They Start
You can prevent problems if you control your diabetes with diet, medication, exercise, and regular checkups.
It’s also important to know the warning signs of some common complications:
Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). It can have an impact on your feet and legs. You might get symptoms like:
- Numbness or tingling
- Cuts or sores that heal slowly
- Erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness
Eye problems (diabetic retinopathy). This can happen from damage to small blood vessels in the retina, a layer of tissue on the inside of your eyes. Talk to your doctor if you notice any signs of trouble, such as things like:
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain or pressure
- Spots before your eyes
- Sudden loss of sight
Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy). It's a complication that can lead you to need treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant. To rule out problems, your doctor will check your blood pressure two to four times a year and your urine protein (microalbumin) at least once a year.
Heart disease and strokes. They're both 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 and what you can do to lower them.
6. Get Help From Your Diabetes Health Care Team
If you catch complications early you'll boost your chances of treatment success. Talk to your doctor whenever you have concerns. You may need something as simple as a lifestyle change or a tweak in your meds.
Whether you have questions about your treatment or think you may have a complication, your diabetes health care team is there to help. Their goal is the same as yours: let you keep doing the things you love with the people you care about.