Type 2 diabetes has devastating side effects. Left untreated, the condition can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, skin problems, eye problems, kidney disease and more. But, catching the condition early could be life-changing and in some cases even lifesaving. And, managing diabetes properly could mean a reduced or eliminated need for medication.
The key to diabetes management is an early diagnosis. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing for diabetes in all adults at age 45 and in younger adults who have a body mass index of 25 or greater. Asian Americans should be screened at a BMI of 23 or greater because they tend to develop diabetes at lower BMIs than the rest of the population.
The following actions may help reduce your risk of developing complications following a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
· Test your blood sugar as directed. If you take insulin, you should test your blood sugar frequently — two or more times per day. Keep a daily log of your levels, and share it with your physician at each visit.
· See your doctor regularly. Having diabetes means you need to have more than just your blood sugar checked regularly. You also should have your blood pressure and cholesterol monitored closely. And, be sure to go for annual dental checkups, complete foot exams, dilated eye exams, and urine and blood tests to check for kidney problems.
· Eat a healthy diet. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about your nutrition needs. For most people with diabetes, a diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains is recommended. Don’t cut out entire food groups, such as carbohydrates, without first talking to your doctor.
· Walk after dinner. Experts recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week, which comes down to just 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Brisk walking counts. Not your speed? Any activity that you enjoy that elevates your heart rate but still allows you to talk will do.
· Find ways to cope with stress. Stress can cause blood sugar levels to spike, so always have a plan to deal with unexpected stressors. Try being physically active, counting to 10, breathing deeply or meditating. Keep exploring until you find a stress-relieving practice that works for you.
The diabetes case management team at Lake Regional Endocrinology works closely with Lake Regional cardiologists, nephrologists and certified diabetes educators to improve care for adult patients with type 2 diabetes. To schedule an appointment, call Lake Regional Endocrinology at 573-302-4406.