Reducing Risks

 

Daily monitoring of blood sugar levels is an important part of diabetes care along with frequent monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol levels to help prevent long-term complications. Monitoring isn’t hard to do. Your diabetes care provider or pharmacist can show you how.

 

Diabetic eye disease is referred to as retinopathy. It occurs when the blood vessels in the eye become weak and can break, which may lead to blindness.

What can you do?

The best approach it to get a dilated eye-exam each year.

High blood sugar over long periods of time can cause nerve damage called neuropathy. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of nerve that is affected. Peripheral nerves, which are responsible for body movement and feeling, can also be affected. Typically it is the nerves of the feet that are most often affected. This can cause burning, tingling or numbness. Loss of feeling and decreased blood flow in the feet can put you at risk for a slow healing or infected wounds if the area is injured.

What can you do?
  • Check your feet daily.
  • Wear socks and comfortable shoes.
  • Make sure to discuss any new issues with your diabetes healthcare team.
  • Take off your shoes at each diabetes care visit so that your provider can check your feet for signs of neuropathy.
  • Ask your diabetes care provider or pharmacist about diabetic shoe options if you have difficulty finding comfortable shoes. To learn more about diabetic footwear available through Kinney Drugs, click here.

Heart disease is two to three times more likely in people with diabetes. But careful management of the ABC’s of diabetes (blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol) can help lower that risk.

What can you do?
  • Check your blood pressure regularly and at each diabetes care visit
  • Have your cholesterol checked at least yearly
  • Stop using tobacco
  • Take 81mg daily of aspirin if you are either:
    • A male over 50 years of age or
    • A female over 60 years of age
  • AND you have at least one heart disease risk factor:
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Strong family history
    • Diabetic kidney disease
    • Smoking
    • History of heart disease

Just like with the heart and eyes, diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the kidney called nephropathy. If this happens, the kidneys may not work as well in cleaning out toxins in the body. Some people may even end up needing dialysis as a treatment.

What can you do?

  • Get a urine protein test annually

  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly
  • Ask your provider about medications called ACE Inhibitors or ARBS to control your blood pressure

Diabetes can also cause poor oral health such as cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.

What can you do?

  • See a dentist every six months

  • Brush teeth twice daily
  • Floss once daily