May 14, 2020
Diabetes: Beyond Diet and Exercise
The key components of diabetes management are diet, exercise, medication, and regular check-ins with your healthcare team; everyone knows this. It’s the best-known way of preventing long-term complications.
However, diet, exercise, and medication are just part of the equation. To truly live well with diabetes, you also need to practice self- care (not everyone knows this).
Listen to your dentist!
When you’re living with diabetes, you must be extra careful not to catch gum disease. Sore and bleeding gums might not seem like a big deal, but high blood sugar can cause the inflammation to spread to the rest of your body, leading to heart and kidney disease.
To avoid this, be very vigilant about dental care. Brush your teeth after every meal and floss every day, preferably when going to bed. You might also want to invest in an antiseptic mouth rinse.
Seek medical attention for dental issues even when they don’t seem too serious, whether for small issues like dry mouth or bigger problems like tender gums. Lastly, remember to get dental checkups at least twice a year.
Love your skin
Your skin is your largest organ, so do all you can to avoid cuts, blisters, and skin infections as they can lead to bigger problems fast.
Washing your body every day isn’t enough, but it’s a good start. Use warm water and mild moisturizing soap that won’t dry out your skin, and then gently pat your skin dry.
Pay attention to areas where water collects, such as under-arms and between the toes as these are breeding grounds for fungal infections. Don’t forget to moisturize.
Make a habit of inspecting your skin for redness, dryness, or tenderness. This way, you’ll be sure to catch any issues before they get out of hand. If you notice a rash, cut, or wound that doesn’t go away after a couple of days of proper care, please see your doctor because you want to avoid infection.
Take care of your feet
Feet aren’t a high priority for most people. However, when you have diabetes, common issues like calluses, athlete’s foot, corns, nail infections, warts, bunions, cuts, and scrapes can lead to serious complications, infections, and amputations.
To be on the safe side, wear proper fitting shoes and avoid walking barefoot. Also, examine your feet regularly for cuts, calluses, blisters, wounds, scratches, cracked skin, or ingrown toenails.
Keep an antibiotic cream and sterile bandages on hand at all times so you can attend to small cuts and wounds properly. It’s extremely important that you see a doctor if the cut or wound doesn’t heal after a couple of days.
Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye leading to glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy. To prevent these, keep your blood sugar levels under control with diet, exercise, and medication. Also, watch for spots, dots, or lines in your vision, cloudiness, damage to the blood vessels in your eyes, blurred vision, and general vision loss.
Diabetes is a complex condition that affects your entire body. As a result, self-care is a very important part of diabetes management.
You need to be very vigilant about taking care of your eyes, teeth, skin, and feet. This means controlling your blood sugar through diet, exercise, and medication, flossing every day, keeping your skin clean and moisturized, and wearing proper-fitting shoes.
Be sure to let your doctor know about any changes in your vision, dental health, skin, and feet.
Take charge of diabetes by practicing these self-care tips to protect your health and quality of life.