Prevent Common Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes can lead to other complications. Controlling your glucose level is the best way to help prevent these complications but the list below details additional ways to avoid the common complications of diabetes.
- Regular Eye Exams
Diabetic retinopathy is the name for a diseased retina in the eye. Changes in the blood glucose level affect tiny blood vessels in the eye, and eventually the retina receives less blood. The eye tries to get more blood by forming new blood vessels. These new vessels are smaller and more fragile. They may break and bleed into the eye, possibly causing vision loss. As many as one out of three people with diabetes has some degree of retinopathy. It is painless and has few warning signs, so loss of vision can occur quickly. To help prevent vision loss, have regular eye exams, usually at least once a year, and control your blood sugar with proper diet and medication.
- Foot Care
Special foot care is necessary when you have diabetes. Decreased blood circulation in the feet is common with age and diabetes. Nerves in your feet may not respond quickly to injury. Inspect your feet daily.
- Skin Care
You should give special attention to bathing because of the possibility of infections. Bathe daily with mild soap and lukewarm water. Protect your skin. Avoid scratches, punctures, injury and use sunscreen to avoid sunburn. See your doctor immediately if sores do not heal. If a sore becomes infected, it usually will become red, swollen, warm, and
possibly have drainage. If this occurs, call your doctor immediately.
- Dental Care
Your mouth and teeth also need special care because many infections begin in the mouth. Daily brushing and flossing help prevent loss of teeth and gum infections. See your dentist every 6 months
- Preventing Bladder Infections/Kidney Complications
Diabetes makes you prone to bladder infections. It also affects your kidneys and limits their ability to function properly. To prevent bladder infections and kidney complications, it is important that you drink 8-10, eight-ounce glasses of water each day, unless your doctor or nurse tells you to limit your liquids.
Some symptoms you should report are:
- itching, burning or pain when you urinate
- decreased urine output
- the need to urinate frequently
- the urge to urinate with little output
Adapted from: B-D Better Diabetic Care
Becton Dickinson Co.; American Diabetes Assoc., Inc.