Too much sugar in the blood can cause many different problems in your body, including heart disease, kidney damage, blindness, and loss of feeling in your feet and hands. If you work with your doctor or health care professional, these problems can be lessened, or in some cases, avoided.
Your doctor will tell you how often you should be testing your blood sugar with a blood glucose (sugar) meter. Write down the test results and keep a record. This will tell you how well you are controlling your sugar level through diet, exercise, and diabetes medications.
The next time you visit your doctor, ask to have an HbA1c test. This is the test that will tell you what your average blood sugar level has been, overall, for the last three months. If the result is higher than 8%, you and your doctor should make adjustments in your treatment plan. If your result is 7% or lower, your current treatment plan is working well, and many of the problems that are a result of diabetes can be delayed or sometimes prevented.
Keep your blood pressure in the normal range. Your doctor may decide you have to take medication to achieve this, but it’s important. Normal blood pressure will help prevent damage to your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and eyes.
Don’t smoke. Smoking can make heart and blood vessel problems worse, because it slows down your blood flow. If you smoke and find you cannot stop on your own, ask your doctor for help in quitting. Check your feet once a day for sores, blisters, hangnails and calluses. If you have a sore that won’t heal, see your doctor right away. 25% of all hospital admissions for people with diabetes are foot related. Wear shoes that fit well and are comfortable. There are special therapeutic shoes and heat molded inserts available for people with diabetes, and most insurance companies will cover much of the cost.