People often worry about the complications that come with diabetes. Here are 4 keys to helping reduce your complication risks.
- The best way to limit all complications of diabetes is strict blood sugar control. You should be monitoring your blood sugar and seeking to have a A1c of 6 or lower. Spikes in blood sugar are not recommended at any time, as this provides opportunity for the complications to start. As you talk with your doctor, you can get an aggressive program to keep blood sugars managed.
- Exercise helps control blood sugar. Exercise in a diabetic is an important part of your self care. This program should be under the direction of your physician and should include adjustments in medications as necessary, diet changes and carefully monitored exercise. Some key points include not exercising when blood sugars are highest, 30 - 60 minutes after meals and additional carbohydrates may be required to reduce hypoglycemia (low blood sugars). Talk with your doctor and get an exercise program that will work for you.
- Examine your feet twice a day. The American Diabetes Association recommends you examine your feet daily for new areas of redness, new calluses, blisters, or skin changes. Since you are putting shoes on and taking them off, I recommend checking your feet twice a day. This provides you information on if a certain shoe or activity is causing any of these changes. If changes are noted to the feet, your feet should be checked by a foot and ankle specialist to help improve the problem before it becomes a bigger problem. As you examine your feet, you are performing the most important exercise to reduce wounds, infections and amputations.
- Play an active part in managing your disease. No matter how good your doctor is, you are the key to good diabetic control. Learn all you can and work to reduce your diabetic foot complications (as well as other complications).
Remember in each of these keys, YOU make the difference. Preventing complications is a process not a destination and must be worked at on a regular basis.