Control Your Diabetes

You CAN Control the Complications of Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disorder in the way your body turns food into energy. The problem centers around a substance called insulin, and how your body produces and uses it. Insulin helps to turn the food you eat into energy by acting like a key that “unlocks the cells” so that the sugar can get in. Without insulin, your cells are not able to use sugar normalIy, and as a result they don’t get the energy needed, and sugar “backs up” into your blood. High blood sugar can lead to the complications of diabetes.

Help yourself prevent the complications of diabetes by keeping your blood sugar in “tight control.” All of the following actions work together to achieve this goal:

  • Plan what you eat.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Take your medication(s).
  • Check your blood sugar often.
  • Visit your health care provider(s) regularly.
  • Learn about your disease!

What Does Control Mean?

The goal of treating diabetes is to control it, that is, to keep the blood sugar as near to “normal” as possible. The level for people without diabetes is 70-115mg/dl. The goal for persons with diabetes is 80-120mg/dl before meals and 100-140mg/dl at bedtime.

Untreated or poorly controlled diabetes can affect your body organs. Proper diabetes control can reduce your risk for diabetes complications and help you to maintain your health:

Diabetes can affect your EYES

Your eyes can be affected by retinal changes on the back of your eyes leading to vision loss and blindness.
FACT: Diabetes is the leading cause of cases of new blindness in people 20 to 74.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • See your eye doctor at least once a year for a diabetes eye exam.
  • Watch for changes in vision.

Diabetes can affect your HEART

Your heart can develop atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to heart attack.
FACT: Diabetics suffer two to four times the usual rate of cardiovascular disease.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • See your doctor at least annually and immediately report any chest pain and/or shortness of breath.
  • Keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars under control.
  • Limit foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat.
  • Take prescribed medications as ordered by your doctor.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Exercise as directed by your doctor.

Diabetes can affect your KIDNEYS

Kidney function can decline with poor diabetes control. This can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis.
FACT: Nearly half of new cases of end-stage kidney disease stem from diabetes.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • See your doctor for regular examinations including an annual screening test for protein in the urine (microalbuminuria).
  • Control your blood sugar.
  • Control your blood pressure.
  • Moderate protein in your diet if advised by your doctor.

Diabetes can affect your FEET

Poor circulation to the feet can cause wounds that don’t heal and can lead to amputation.
FACT: Most diabetics suffer nerve damage, and many end up requiring leg amputations.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Check your feet daily for pain, numbness, or sores that won’t heal.
  • See your doctor or podiatrist for regular foot exams/treatments.
  • Practice proper foot care; wash and dry feet daily, wear clean socks and protect your feet from injury.
  • Visit our Education heading for Foot Care Tips.