The Facts About Diabetes
What You Should Know about Diabetes
What is diabetes exactly? Diabetes means your body either cannot produce or cannot properly use insulin. Insulin is the hormone that lets your body process sugar and fat. When the body can't process sugar and fat properly, serious complications can result.
There are two types of diabetes.
- Type 1 occurs mostly in children and young adults
- In Type 1, the body does not produce insulin
- Type 2, the most common type, results from the body's inability to use the insulin it produces
How Diabetes Affects Your Body
Diabetes can lead to many very serious medical conditions and life-changing results. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney failure
- Leg amputations
What You Can Do if You Have Diabetes
If you have been living with diabetes, you may feel you need help to control it. But you can control diabetes. Work with your doctor or nurse to develop a self-care plan. Diabetes self-care can prevent some of these problems.
Here are seven actions you can take to help manage your diabetes and stay healthy now:
- Work with your doctor on a comprehensive plan to control your diabetes.
- Have an A1C blood test two to four times a year. The A1C test is the best way to know if your diabetes is in control. A level below seven percent is recommended.
- Have a dilated eye exam yearly by an eye doctor (an ophthalmologist or optometrist).
- Control your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is higher than 130/80, ask your doctor if you should receive treatment.
- Control your cholesterol level. Ask your doctor to check your LDL level at least every year.
- Learn proper foot care. Know how to examine your feet and have your doctor examine your feet on a regular basis.
- Don't smoke. Smoking and diabetes make a deadly combination.