If you have Type 2 diabetes, chances are you have heard about the complications associated with long-term high blood sugar levels and how they wreak havoc on your body? In fact, for those people with diabetes who do little or nothing to reduce the risk of these complications, diabetes-related problems are a near certainty, not just a possibility.
The good news is you can take steps today to ensure a future without diabetic complications. You are not alone in your quest to avoid these complications. Roughly 8 percent of the American population has diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet 2011 released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And just like you, they are also trying their best to lead a productive life despite their health problem.
So, how can you prevent the complications of diabetes?
1. Control your blood sugar level. Controlling your blood sugar is considered to be the most important step in preventing diabetic complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 1 percent drop in your HbA1c value reduces your risk for microvascular complications, such as eye problems and nerve damage, by an amazing 40%! In people with Type 1 diabetes, strict control of their blood sugar levels can reduce their risk for cardiovascular complications.
2. Normalize your blood pressure. One of the most important reasons to control your blood pressure is to lower drastically your risk for the development of cardiovascular diseases such as heart problems and stroke. In fact, good control of your blood pressure can decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease by 33 to 50%, and your chances of developing microvascular complications by 33%.
3. Control your blood cholesterol levels. Type 2 diabetes coupled with increased cholesterol levels is considered to be one of the most dangerous predisposing factors to the development of chronic complications. And by normalizing your cholesterol levels, your risk for cardiovascular complications may decrease by 20 to 50%.
4. Other preventive care practices:
- have your eyes tested 12 monthly. Visiting your ophthalmologist regularly may be a preventive measure to avoid eye complications associated with diabetes. By doing so, eye complications may be diagnosed, managed, and corrected at the earliest possible time.
- always care for your feet. Decreased sensation, particularly in both of your lower extremities, may cause unwanted infections. Left untreated, an infection can spread to the bone and result in the need for amputation of the affected toes, foot, or lower leg. Always wear protective shoes and make sure you check your feet for scrapes, cuts, swelling, bleeding, and signs of infections every day.
- have your kidney function checked regularly. Your kidneys are especially sensitive to high blood sugar levels.
Whilst there is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, it can certainly be controlled and the complications can be avoided.