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How to Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Health Risks

healthy food type 2 diabetes

September 12, 2017 | Categories:

When you’re newly diagnosed with diabetes, it may feel like you have an uphill health battle ahead of you and you don’t know where to begin. A diabetes diagnosis is challenging, but there are simple steps you can take right now to reduce certain health risks associated with diabetes, like addressing diabetic foot care and dental care, so you improve your overall health and quality of life.

We’ll walk you through some ways to reduce risks that are associated with diabetes:

Stop Smoking

You already know that smoking is bad for your lungs and your heart, but when you have a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, smoking can raise your risk for heart attack or stroke. If you plan to quit smoking, here are some simple first steps to take

Set a quit date, tell your loved ones you’re going to stop smoking with diabetes, and throw out your cigarettes and lighters.

Stock up on products to help you quit smoking, like nicotine patches, gum, or possibly an inhaler or spray.

Manage Your Medications

If your doctor diagnosed you with type 2 diabetes they gave you a daily regimen to follow that includes medications, blood glucose monitoring systems, blood glucose test strips, lancing devices, and possibly other OTC recommendations.

It’s important to make sure you understand how to take your medications, how to use diabetes supplies, as well as any side effects you should be aware of with these medications and products.

Call your doctor with any questions you have throughout the process.

Start Healthy Eating

Managing your type 2 diabetes through a healthy diet is an important component of keeping your blood sugars in the range your doctor discussed with you.

Talk to your doctor and possibly a nutritionist about how to plan for and create healthy diabetes meals.

Ask them to talk to you about carbohydrates, low carb and high protein snack choices, as well as how much and what to eat if your blood sugar is too low or too high.

Ask your doctor if they recommend vitamins you should be taking to supplement this diabetes diet.

Get Moving

If your health care provider gives you the thumbs up, being active is a great way to manage your blood sugars. Talk to your doctor about how to monitor and control your blood sugar before and after exercise.

Two types of exercise your doctor might recommend include aerobic and strength training.

Aerobic exercise is any movement that gets your heart rate up, which can include walking, biking, gardening, even cleaning your home!

Strength training helps build muscles (which burn more fat at rest!), strengthens bones, as well as helps with balance.

Start small! Begin with exercise you can handle (or your doctor recommends). For example, commit to walking 20 minutes, three times a week, then tack on longer walks and increase the frequency each week. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes and consider buying a pedometer to track all of your daily steps. You might find it motivating to set a step goal to achieve daily!

Mind Your Mouth

Dental care is particularly important for diabetics because you’re at higher risk of cavities and gum disease.

Take care of your teeth and gums by flossing daily and brushing twice a day.

Make appointments to visit your dentist for a checkup every six months.

Look After Your Feet

Diabetic foot care is an important component of managing your diabetes. Diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet, so you might not notice small cuts or sores.

Manage diabetic foot pain by checking your feet daily for sores or open wounds, particularly if they aren’t healing.

Wash feet daily in warm water (test with a thermometer to make sure the water is 90 to 95°F).

Let them air dry, then apply talcum powder or cornstarch between toes to keep the skin dry, then apply lotion to the tops and bottoms of your feet.

Talk to a foot doctor (podiatrist) about any changes you see or feel with your feet, like numbness and tingling.

 

Get Your Eyes Checked

Too much glucose in your body can affect the small blood vessels in the eyes, impacting vision and possibly leading to vision loss in diabetics. Eye health problems diabetics can face include degenerative diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy. Luckily, about 90 percent of diabetes-related vision loss can be prevented with early detection.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) and let them know you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Your eye doctor might suggest products like eye drops to keep the eyes lubricated or they might prescribe medication for your eyes.

Blood sugar changes may cause blurry vision, which should go back to normal after your sugar levels stabilize.

Call your doctor with any eye health concerns you think may be linked to your diabetes.

 

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