Prevention of diabetes is critical. The time to act is NOW! Once you have diabetes, it can put you at higher risk for many other health problems. Uncontrolled diabetes over time can lead to:
- Heart and Blood Vessel disease: You are at 2-4 times increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease and poor circulation…especially in the feet and legs.
- Kidney disease: Diabetic kidney disease is a leading cause of kidney failure (which can require dialysis or kidney transplant). Any change in expected frequency or foamy urine could be a sign you are starting to have kidney damage.
- Nerve damage: Diabetes can affect nerves throughout the entire body:
- Legs, feet and hands: Pain, burning, numbness, poor balance and increased risk of amputation
- Stomach: Can cause “paralyzed stomach” (called gastroparesis) resulting in feeling too full, bloated, but can progress to nausea, vomiting and pain in stomach. It is also possible to experience heartburn related to diabetes.
- Intestines: Food may travel too slow (causing constipation) or too fast (diarrhea).
- Sexual Function: Leading cause of erectile dysfunction in men and vaginal dryness/infections in women.
- Heart: Nerve damage can cause dizziness and a fast heart rate. It is also possible to experience a heart attack with abdominal pain or no pain at all.
- Bladder: Trouble emptying the bladder and frequent urinary tract infections.
- Feet: Affects sweat glands resulting in dry, cracked skin…which can lead to infection. Affects muscles in the toes causing “hammertoes” and other foot deformities. Loss of feeling in feet can lead to skin ulcers, corns, calluses, etc.
- Eye damage: Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness. High blood sugars can cause blurry vision and over time can damage the retina (called retinopathy).
- Teeth and gums: Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to gum disease, tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw.
- Brain/Memory Loss: Uncontrolled blood sugars put you at up to 4 times higher risk for memory loss and dementia. Some scientists are calling Alzheimer’s disease “Type 3 Diabetes”.
People who have diabetes are not “doomed” to have the above health problems. If you work with your health care team and keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol under control, you can prevent complications of diabetes. Knowledge is power over diabetes! If you already have diabetes, Halifax Health has a team of Certified Diabetes Educators (nurse and dietitian) who can help you.
There are many things to know about Diabetes and living with it once you are diagnosed. Please find the helpful tutorials for various categories from http://www.diabetescare.net/ for the many aspects that pertain to Diabetes.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Find out the most common symptoms, management plan, and more key tips.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and mostly occurs in adults over the age of 40. While being overweight increases your chance of having type 2 diabetes, there are other risk factors as well. Learn more about the tips to reduce complications, importance of A1C goals and more.
Your Management Plan
You may feel overwhelmed when you have diabetes. With a proper management plan and being an active participant in it, you will reach your blood glucose goals and keep your diabetes under control.
A1C and Long-Term Complications
Keeping your A1C levels below 7% can help decrease the chance of complications of diabetes. Find out more about the importance of getting your A1C checked.
The Need for Blood Glucose Monitoring and Record Keeping
Checking your blood glucose regularly and keeping a record of readings are important tools when managing your diabetes. It also helps your diabetes care team know how well your food choices, exercise, and medication are working.
How to Check Your Blood Glucose
Knowing how to properly check your blood glucose is an important aspect of keeping track of your diabetes and manage it to the best of your ability.
How Orals Medications Work
Medication can play an important role in managing your diabetes and work with dietary and lifestyle changes to achieve your glucose goals. Find out more about some of the medications that can help control your blood glucose levels.
Using Oral Medications Safely
Using your diabetes medication safely and effectively can help you reach your glucose level targets. Learn more about the importance of storing and tracking your medication.
Oral Medications, Hypoglycemia and Sick Days
When taking medications for your diabetes, it is vital to make sure they are a part of your daily routine. However, if something changes within that, it can throw off your diabetes management. Find out ways to help your blood glucose when those events occur and the assistance your diabetes education team can provide.
Insulin can be an impactful tool for some to help keep your blood glucose in a healthy range and avoid long term complications of diabetes. Learn more about how it works and the role that it plays.
Types of Insulin
There are numerous types of insulin that can be used as an integral part of your diabetes management plan. Find out more about the various types and how each differs.
Using Insulin Safely
Correctly using insulin is imperative in your management of diabetes. Learn more about the proper protocols that should be used.
Insulin, Hypoglycemia and Sick Days
Sometimes changes in your daily routine are unavoidable, such as being sick with a cold or flu, which can raise your blood glucose. It is important to take your insulin while being under the weather and you may need to adjust dosage. Working with your diabetes care team in advance of being sick or having hypoglycemia and developing a plan is paramount.
Properly understanding how to inject insulin is an aspect that can’t be overlooked in your diabetes care toolbox. Learn more about the step-by-step process, areas to inject, and other important details.
Is Your Meal Plan Working
Monitoring your blood glucose is the best way to find out how well your meal plan is working and if any changes need to be made. Keeping a food journal, along with your glucose results, will help you and your diabetes care team make any adjustments.
Creating Your Meal Plan
When you are counting your carbohydrates in your meal planning, the goal is to use your food choices to better control your blood glucose. Each meal plan is different for each individual and is impacted by a multitude of factors. Find out what those are and how to put your meal plan into practice.
Counting Carbohydrate Grams
Counting carbohydrates is a great way to still enjoy a wide variety of foods while maintaining a healthy control of your blood glucose.
Portion Sizes Are Key
When trying to count your carbohydrates correctly, accurately understanding the portion sizes you are eating is crucial. At the start of your journey, measuring cups, spoons, and a scale are fantastic tools to use to give you a precise portion size.
Understanding the Need for Skin and Foot Care
Diabetes is a major risk factor in half of all lower extremity amputations. In addition to controlling blood glucose levels, it is imperative to understand and practice proper foot care.