Diabetes Care 101: Learn How to Take Care of Yourself or Someone you Love
Diabetes Care: 10 strategies to prevent complications from happening to you or someone you love.
Diabetes is a serious disease. It takes around-the-clock commitment to follow your treatment plan, but the rewards are worthwhile! By taking care of yourself, you can reduce your risk for life-threatening complications caused by diabetes.
Here are ten ways to take care of yourself when you have diabetes and enjoy a healthier future.
1. Diabetes is manageable with a bit of dedication.
Your diabetes care team comprises your doctor or primary care provider, a dietitian, and sometimes a nurse educator. All these people will help you learn the basics of managing diabetes. Still, it’s important to remember that ultimately it falls on you as an individual with this condition to take responsibility for your health to manage it successfully.
Diabetes is a serious condition that requires constant maintenance to avoid complications. Maintaining the right weight, getting adequate physical activity, and eating well will see you through it.
Monitor your blood sugar levels and follow the advice from your doctor. Stay on top of taking all necessary medications for diabetes and following a healthy diet plan. Don’t hesitate to ask others in the medical field or those close to you if they have any information that might be helpful!
2. Avoid Smoking
Smoking makes you more likely to get Type 2 diabetes. It also increases the risk of various complications, including:
- Premature death
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Eye disease is a type of sickness that can lead to blindness.
- Heart disease
- Reduced blood flow in the feet and legs can lead to infection, ulcers, and amputations.
Talk to your doctor about ways you can stop smoking or using other types of tobacco.
3. Control your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Like diabetes, high blood pressure can lead to damage to your circulatory system. When combined with the effects of cholesterol buildup, this problem may grow more quickly and cause life-threatening conditions like a heart attack or stroke.
Eating a healthy diet while exercising regularly can go a long way in managing your high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your doctor may also recommend prescription medication if necessary.
4. Schedule Medical Checkups and Eye Exams
Make sure to schedule two to four checkups for diabetes every year. That is in addition to annual physicals and routine eye exams.
During the checkup, your doctor will ask about your nutrition and physical activity. They will look for any diabetes-related complications, such as kidney damage or nerve damage. They also might look for other medical problems.
Your eye doctor will check for signs of retinal damage, glaucoma, and cataracts.
5. Keep Up to Date with your Vaccinations
If you have diabetes, you are more likely to get certain illnesses. Vaccines can help prevent them. Ask your doctor about:
- A flu vaccine can help you stay healthy during the flu season. It can also reduce the chance that you will get serious complications from the virus.
- Pneumonia vaccine. Sometimes people only need one shot. If you have diabetes or are 65 or older, then you may need a second shot.
- A hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for adults who have diabetes and are younger than 60 years old. If you are 60 years or older and have never been vaccinated, talk to your doctor about whether this is a good idea for you.
- It would be best if you got a tetanus shot every ten years. Your doctor may also recommend other vaccines for you.
6. Pay Attention to your Teeth
Brushing your teeth twice a day can help to prevent gum disease. Flossing once a day and scheduling regular dental exams helps too! If you have diabetes, be sure to get these procedures done as recommended by your dentist. If you have any concerns about bleeding gums or redness in the area of your teeth, call upon your dentist right away because this could mean an infection has started developing.
7. Take care of your feet.
High blood sugar can make it hard for the blood to flow in your feet. It can cause problems with your nerves. If you don’t treat it, cuts and blisters could lead to severe infections. Diabetes could cause pain and tingling or loss of sensation in your feet.
To prevent foot problems:
- Don’t go barefoot, indoors or outdoors.
- If you have a sore or other foot problem and do not start to heal within a few days, you should talk to your doctor. If the problem is an open sore on your foot, you should see your doctor right away.
- Check your feet daily for redness, sores, blisters, calluses, or swelling.
- Moisturize your feet and ankles; use petroleum jelly or lotion. This will keep the area from getting dry. Don’t put oils or creams between your toes — this can lead to an infection.
- Wash your feet every day in lukewarm water. Do not soak your feet, as that can lead to dry skin.
- Dry your feet gently and thoroughly, especially between the toes.
8. An Aspirin a Day
If you have diabetes and other risk factors, your doctor may recommend taking aspirin every day to help reduce your chances of having a heart attack or dying from a stroke. If you don’t have any risk factors for cardiovascular disease, then the chances of bleeding from taking aspirin outweigh the benefits. Your doctor can tell you if aspirin therapy is appropriate. Ask about the strength of aspirin that would be best for you.
9. If you Drink Alcohol, Do it Responsibly.
Alcohol consumption can either increase or decrease blood glucose levels at different times, depending upon the quantity consumed and whether you eat at the same time. If you drink, do it in moderation. For women and men over 65, this means one drink per day. For men under 65, two drinks per day are the maximum.
Whenever you eat, drink something that has calories. You should also count the calories from alcohol when counting how many calories your day has had. Alcohol can lower your blood sugar later on and could cause problems for people who use insulin.
10. Manage your Stress
If you are stressed, it can be easy not to take care of your diabetes. When you are stressed, set limits and prioritize tasks. Learn relaxation techniques to help with your stress.
Get plenty of rest. And be happy. Diabetes can’t stop you from being active and healthy if you do your part.
Diabetes Care Resources
Here are some diabetes care links to further assist with your diabetes planning.
Diabetes UK – Diabetes Care – Caring for Diabetes
Many people with diabetes are unsure as to how to care for their diabetes. There is often confusion surrounding blood glucose and how to monitor it correctly. Good diabetes care and management is essential.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Your Diabetes Care Schedule
Use this diabetes care schedule to stay on schedule with self-checks, exams, and appointments throughout the year.
WebMD – Daily Diabetes Care: Sleep, Weight, Checking Blood Sugar, and More
WebMD shares safe and effective strategies for diabetes care at home
American Diabetes Association (ADA) – Treatment & Care
Diabetes Care: Diabetes is common, yet every individual needs unique care. Find out the best treatment option for you, from healthy food choices to insulin shots and everything in between.
American Diabetes Association (ADA) –Introduction: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2021
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) “Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes,” referred to as the Standards of Diabetes Care, is intended to provide clinicians, patients, researchers, policy makers, and other interested individuals with the components of diabetes care, general treatment goals, and tools to evaluate the quality of care. The Standards of Diabetes Care recommendations are not intended to preclude clinical judgment and must be applied in the context of excellent clinical care, with adjustments for individual preferences, comorbidities, and other patient factors.
Medical News Today – Diabetes: Symptoms, treatment, and early diagnosis
Diabetes is a disorder where the body does not produce insulin or does not use it efficiently. While it can lead to dangerous complications, diabetes is manageable. There are different types of diabetes with varying effects. Read on to learn more about diabetes care.
Everyday Health – How to Care for Someone With Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Care: As a caretaker for someone with diabetes, you can play a significant role in helping to make health care decisions and in developing and sticking to the management plan.
National Diabetes Services Scheme / Australia (NDSS) – Caring for Someone with Diabetes
Diabetes Care – If you are caring for someone with diabetes, you can help them best if you understand the condition well. While it is good to encourage the person to be as independent as possible to manage their diabetes, you may need to provide both physical and emotional support.
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia – Type 2 diabetes – Self-Care
Diabetes Care | Type 2 diabetes is a life-long (chronic) disease. If you have type 2 diabetes, the insulin your body normally makes has trouble transmitting a signal to muscle and fat cells. Insulin is a hormone made…