Caring for Diabetes

Tips for Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease and requires a serious commitment from you. But your efforts are worthwhile. Careful diabetes care can reduce your risk of serious — even life-threatening — complications.

Here are 4 tips to take an active role in diabetes care and enjoy a healthier future.

1. Commit to managing your diabetes

While members of your diabetes care team — doctor or primary care provider, diabetes nurse educator, etc. — can help you learn the basics of diabetes care it’s up to you to manage your condition.

Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine and work hard to maintain a healthy weight.

Monitor your blood sugar and follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your blood sugar level.

2. Control your blood pressure and cholesterol

High blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and the damage is often worse and more rapid when you have diabetes. When these conditions team up, they can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening conditions.

Eating a healthy, reduced-fat diet and exercising regularly can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. Your doctor may also recommend taking prescription medication, if necessary.

3. Schedule regular physicals and eye exams

Schedule regular diabetes checkups a year, in addition to your yearly physical and routine eye exams.

During the physical, your doctor will ask about your nutrition and activity level and look for any diabetes-related complications — including signs of kidney damage, nerve damage and heart disease — as well as screen for other medical problems.

Your eye care specialist will check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma.

4. Pay attention to your feet

High blood sugar can reduce blood flow and damage the nerves in your feet. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can lead to serious infections. Diabetes can lead to pain, tingling or loss of sensation in your feet.

To prevent foot problems:

  • Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water.
  • Avoid soaking your feet, as this can lead to dry skin.
  • Dry your feet gently, especially between the toes.
  • Check your feet daily for calluses, blisters, sores, redness or swelling.
  • Consult your doctor if you have a sore or other foot problem that doesn’t start to heal within a few days. If you have a foot ulcer — an open sore — see your doctor right away.
  • Don’t go barefoot, indoors or outdoors.

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