Diabetes is a lifelong condition that requires careful management to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range. For most people, this means following a prescribed diet and exercise plan, taking medication as directed, and regularly monitoring blood sugar levels. But for some people with diabetes, managing their condition also includes regular visits to the doctor and/or specialist.
Many other diseases and conditions can be more challenging to manage if you also have diabetes. The risk of developing complications from diabetes is increased if you have another chronic illness. So being aware of your overall health and keeping up with regular medical appointments is essential for all diabetics, even if you feel healthy.
1. See your doctor for regular check-ups.
Even if you feel healthy, you must see your doctor or specialist at least once a year. This is because some complications from diabetes, such as nerve damage and kidney disease, can develop without any symptoms. Regular check-ups allow your doctor to detect these complications early when they’re easier to treat.
Kidney disease is one of the worst things that can happen to a diabetic. Nearly one-quarter of all diabetics will develop some form of kidney damage, and the risk is even higher if you have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s crucial to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower it if it’s high.
Another is eye problems. Many diabetics experience retinal damage, which can lead to blindness. Retinal damage is often asymptomatic in the early stages, so diabetics should have their eyes checked at least once a year by an ophthalmologist. If detected, you can explore retinal damage treatment options with your specialist.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Of course, following a healthy lifestyle is crucial for everyone, but it’s crucial for diabetics. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help you control your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of complications. Particular food and drinks can actually help stabilize blood sugar levels, so it’s important to talk to your doctor or dietitian about what’s right for you.
Exercise is also essential for diabetics, as it can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of heart disease. You don’t have to join a gym or start running marathons – even moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, can be beneficial. Some diabetics may need medication to help lower their blood sugar levels before exercising safely.
Depending on the type of diabetes you have, you may need to take insulin injections or other medication. It’s essential to take your medication as prescribed and to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Some diabetics may also need to use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to help them keep track of their blood sugar levels.
3. Manage stress.
Diabetes can be demanding to manage, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes. However, finding ways to manage stress is essential, as it can hurt your blood sugar levels. If you’re feeling stressed, try to find healthy ways to relax, such as yoga, meditation, or time in nature.
Sleep also plays an essential role in managing stress. Getting enough quality sleep can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications. People with diabetes should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Stress can also trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating or drinking alcohol, which aggravates diabetes. If you struggle to manage stress, talk to your doctor or a counselor. They can help you find healthy ways to deal with the challenges of living with diabetes.
4. Quit smoking.
Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease, making blood sugar control more difficult. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Many resources are available to help you stop, such as counseling, support groups, and medication.
You can ask your doctor for a referral to a smoking cessation program. There are also many resources available online and over the phone. If you’re struggling to quit, don’t give up – keep trying until you succeed.
5. Keep up with your vaccinations.
Finally, diabetes can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses such as the flu. That’s why it’s essential to get vaccinated every year. The flu vaccine is safe for most people with diabetes and can help reduce the risk of serious complications.
It would be best if you also got the pneumococcal vaccine, which protects against pneumonia. This is especially important if you have Type 1 diabetes or if you smoke.
If you have diabetes, you must see your doctor regularly to monitor your condition and manage any complications. These tips can help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of complications. However, always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.