Smart habits for a healthier future
Taking care of your diabetes is an investment worth making. People with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and other health problems. Stick to your diabetes management plan and follow these strategies to help stay healthy overall in years to come.
Think about your brain
Diabetes affects blood flow to the brain, and it’s a top risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Being active improves blood flow and has other proven benefits for the brain. People who do aerobic exercise like brisk walking score better on memory and reasoning tests. It may help to exercise your brain, too, by learning something new, reading, or hanging out with friends.
Give your body a rest
A few nights of poor sleep can raise blood sugar and blood pressure. Years of sleep troubles can cause weight gain. Unfortunately, people with diabetes often have conditions that wake them, such as obstructive sleep apnea or nerve pain. Aim to go to sleep and get up at the same time each day. Keep your bedroom cool and dark. Avoid alcohol, exercise, and electronic devices for at least 2 hours before bed. Tell your doctor if you have trouble sleeping. Try this sleep tip: Wear socks to bed.
Protect teeth and bones
People with diabetes have a higher risk for gum disease and tooth loss. You should brush twice and floss once every day to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. See your dentist every 6 months. Diabetes may also lead to weaker bones that fracture more easily. Be good to your bones by eating low-fat dairy foods and doing regular weight-bearing exercise. Ask your doctor if you should take calcium or vitamin D supplements. Get some sunshine every day.
Make time for tests and screenings that can help your doctor diagnose and prevent complications of diabetes, such as vision loss. Finding a problem and treating it early can help to set you up for a healthier future. Call your doctor to find out if you need to schedule these tests:
- A1C blood glucose test (every 3 to 6 months)
- dilated eye exam
- urine test
- hearing test
- cholesterol check
Your doctor should check your blood pressure and examine your feet at every office visit. Take off your shoes in the examining room as a reminder.