A disease of the autoimmune and endocrine systems, diabetes affects every part of your body and your life. Preventing diabetes complications is important in the management of the disease and your quality of life. Individuals who have had diabetes for several years are at higher risk for developing complications of the eyes, kidneys, nervous and circulatory systems which in turn effect specific body parts and functions. Prevention thus must be integrative as the development of a single complication can be indicative of the presence of another or lead to further complications.


Preventing Diabetes Complications: Know Your Risk & Find Balance


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends focusing on food, physical activity, and medicine to create balance. It is important to regularly test your blood sugar at home in order to understand and tweak your regime, as well as work closely with your primary physician and specialists. Studies have shown that individuals display high levels of glucose several years before they are diagnosed with diabetes or even pre-diabetes. Knowing the symptoms of diabetes and the risk factors are important. If you have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, don’t exercise, or are African America, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander you have a greater risk of diabetes. Diabetics should also check their skin regularly for cuts, abrasions, and calluses, which can lead to some of the most common and severe complications.


Key Factors for Preventing Diabetes Complications


Specifically related to the way the body responds to glucose, diabetics must be diligent about their diet. When making food choices keep these guidelines in mind: eat regularly, aim for variety, and consume less fat, sugar, and salt. Eating regularly, every four to five hours, ensures that you have a steady and consistent level of blood glucose. Aiming for variety will increase the diversity of nutrients that your body receives. Additionally by selecting fresh, unprocessed foods you are also consuming more fiber, keeping you full longer with the added benefit that they are low in fat and sugar. Of course, avoid sugar-based foods like cakes, some breakfast cereals, and pastries. Avoiding processed foods and not salting meals can help control blood pressure. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you have not been physically active you should start gradually and work with a team to find an appropriate fitness plan. The last factor is medicine. Many diabetics who control their glucose levels with food and exercise may have a reduced or zero need for medications however, it is important to test yourself frequently and work with your physician to find appropriate dosage if needed.