Complications of Diabetes
If you have diabetes you may develop life-threatening high or low blood sugar levels. People who have diabetes also have an elevated risk of being diagnosed with cardiovascular illnesses including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
Diabetics are at risk for serious infections, blindness, kidney failure, and loss of limbs. Fortunately, if you keep your blood glucose levels controlled well, your risk for developing these complications decreases dramatically.
Keeping Your Heart Healthy When You Have Diabetes
- Control your blood glucose levels and see your health care provider regularly. Try to keep your blood sugar levels between 70-100dL.
- Check your blood sugar as often as recommended by your health care provider. You will need to monitor your blood glucose more frequently if you are ill.
- Find out what your hemoglobin A1c level is. Ask your health care provider what a reasonable target for your A1c is.
- Obtain diagnostic tests as recommended by your health care practitioner. Your doctor should regularly monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, kidney function, blood count, and metabolic function. You may need an EKG, echocardiogram, stress, and other tests to evaluate the health of your heart and blood vessels.
- Treat high and low blood sugar promptly. Carry glucose tablets for emergencies.
- Eat a well-balanced healthy diet. Enjoy healthy carbohydrates and fats. Limit your intake of fats. Have protein with each meal.
- If you are overweight, consult with your health care provider regarding recommendations for weight loss.
- Learn how to count carbohydrates.
- If you take insulin, use it properly. Do not inject extra insulin just so that you can eat a bag of chocolates, for example.
- Take all of your medications as prescribed.
- Get regular exercise. Consult with your health care provider regarding snacks and insulin if you indulge in vigorous exercise.
- Consider using herbal remedies to promote blood sugar balance. If you choose to use herbs, consult with your health care provider prior to using them, as your diabetes medications and glucose testing schedule may need adjustment.
- Do not smoke.
- Learn the symptoms of atrial fibrillation. If signs or symptoms of atrial fibrillation develop, seek medical assistance.