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Living Well with Diabetes

You can help lower your risk for heart disease by doing the following: • Control your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. • Reach and stay at a healthy weight • Eat foods high in fiber and low in fat. • Stop smoking • Take medications as directed by your health care provider Diabetes Damages Nerves Diabetes is a leading cause of nerve damage. About half of all people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage. Nerve damage is also called neuropathy. It can cause tingling, pain, or numbness in your feet and hands. It can also affect the nerves in your body that control your digestive system, urinary tract, sex organs, heart and blood vessels, sweat glands and eyes. Keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in your target range can help prevent or delay nerve damage and other problems. Diabetes Damages Kidneys Your kidneys have millions of filters that remove waste from your blood. These filters keep protein in the blood. High blood glucose can damage these filters. When kidney disease starts, the filters in the kidneys do not work well. This causes protein to pass into the urine. Having protein in the urine is called albuminuria. You cannot see or feel this, but your health care provider can test your urine for it. Without treatment, the kidneys will get worse. Once this happens, the kidneys have a harder time controlling the body’s fluid levels. This can cause high blood pressure or make high blood pressure worse. When the kidneys do not work, a machine can be used to filter waste from the blood through a process called dialysis. Things you can do to help prevent kidney disease: • Visit your health care provider regularly. Get screened for kidney disease to catch problems early. Your health care provider can check your blood pressure, urine (for protein), and blood (for waste products). • Follow your health care provider’s advice. Sometimes exercise, changes to your diet, and medicine can help keep your kidneys healthy. • Keep your blood glucose under control. • Keep your blood pressure at goal. High blood pressure can lead to kidney disease or make it worse. • Lose weight, if you are overweight • Consume less salt • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking • Be active every day. Talk to your health care provider before starting any physical activity. 13


Living Well with Diabetes
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