Diabetes isn’t something that goes away; it’s something you must live with and learn to manage. If your blood sugar isn’t under control, it affects every cell in your body. Your risks of heart disease, kidney failure, eye problems, nerve damage, infections and dental disease all increase. The first step in managing the condition is to educate yourself.
Diabetes Comes in Three Forms:
To manage your diabetes, you need to control your blood sugar, prevent or manage high blood pressure and control your cholesterol. These three strategies are called the ABCs of diabetes management.
Although you are the most important person in your life when it comes to managing your ABCs, you will probably need help from other members of the team, like your family doctor or internist, diabetes educator, dentist, podiatrist (foot doctor), pharmacists, dietitian, nurses, social workers and mental health practitioners. These are the people who can help you manage the ABCs by teaching you about diet, exercise, medications and stress relief.
To cope with diabetes, you must eat well by selecting foods with maximum nutrition, avoid sugar and increase fruits and vegetables. You may need medications to help get your blood sugar under control. Exercise helps you maintain or lose weight, and improves your heart health. Stress relief can help you lower your blood pressure and deal with sadness or anger. Your health care partners can also help you get healthier in other ways, like quitting smoking or keeping your teeth and gums in good shape.
One of the most important things you can do to help manage your diabetes is to get regular health care. You should see both your doctor and your dentist at least twice a year. Each time you see your doctor, you should have a blood pressure check, a foot check, a weight check and a review of your diabetes self-care plan. You also need regular lab tests, like a HbA1c at least twice a year, a cholesterol test once a year and urine and blood tests to check your kidney health.
You should also see your eye doctor once a year for an eye exam, including a dilated eye exam. In addition to regular foot checks, you should have a complete foot exam once a year. Your doctor may also recommend you have an annual flu shot, a hepatitis B vaccination and a pneumonia shot, especially if you are over 60.
Regular care for diabetes helps head off problems. We provide much of that care at Urgent 9. Join us at the 6th annual Glendale Health Festival to learn more about diabetes and your health.