Tight glucose control will help protect you in each of these areas from the damage of complications.


Because uncontrolled blood sugars break down the smallest blood vessels in the body, the kidneys are particularly at risk—their tiny vessels do a lot of heavy lifting to eliminate toxic waste from your body. Keeping blood glucose under control prevents kidney disease.


Diabetes can damage blood vessels and lead to heart attack or stroke. To protect your ticker: Get your daily servings of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, and fish. Lose weight if you need to and raise your heart rate with exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, doing activities such as walking or swimming. If necessary, your doc might put you on blood pressure and lipid-improving meds.


You deal with a lot of stress, and that can bring on depression. If you’re feeling hopeless, sad, or angry for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor. Depression medication or talk therapy
can help. In the meantime, try meditation or yoga to relax. Even going for a short walk may make you feel better.


Chronic high blood glucose can cause gum disease and dental issues, so see a dentist every six months and report any bleeding, tender, or red gums, as well as bad breath. Brush for at
least two minutes twice a day and floss.


If your glucose numbers are high, your cholesterol numbers tend to be off, too. Need to correct yours? Focus on fibre, exercise regularly, limit fried and processed foods, and eat healthy fats such as almonds, fish, and avocado in moderation. If needed, your doctor may put you on cholesterol-lowering meds, such as statins.


Years of high blood glucose levels can cause the small blood vessels in your retina (“seeing” part of the eye) to bleed, which can detach it and cause blindness—so it’s important to maintain tight control. Note vision changes, such as floating specks, and get a yearly dilated eye exam.


Too much glucose in the blood over time damages and kills nerve cells, causing neuropathy—most commonly peripheral (pain, weakness, numbness). Follow your treatment plan to control blood sugar levels. It helps.


It’s hard for some PWDs’ feet to heal due to poor circulation, so a small wound or untreated sore can lead to a deep injury that doesn’t get better, which may lead to amputation. Check your feet with a mirror regularly and report any issues to your provider immediately.


Chronic high blood glucose causes your body to lose fluids at a faster rate, leading to dry skin. Skin can also become dry when nerves are damaged and don’t get the message to sweat. Keep skin clean, dry, and moisturised (avoid moisturising between your toes) and use sunscreen. Keep showers warm, not hot—this may cause further dryness and cracking, especially on your feet. Report any problems to your doctor.


Too much sodium in the bloodstream can lead to high blood pressure. Although there’s a genetic component to high blood pressure, you can help your body by avoiding table salt (fresh herbs are a tasty alternative) and limiting processed foods, convenience foods, and fast foods—they usually contain staggering amounts of sodium. Aim for 2,300 milligrams or less per day.



Diabetic Living is the only lifestyle magazine that demonstrates how to live fully each and every day while managing diabetes.