Stay your healthiest from head to toe
Here’s the truth: To feel your best, you have to take care of your whole self. If you’re at risk for or have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s even more important to pay attention to overall health. “Diabetes affects almost every organ in the body,” says Nora Saul, RD, a diabetes educator at Joslin Diabetes Center. But if you manage diabetes, you can help prevent many health problems.
Diabetes puts you at higher risk of blindness due to blood vessel damage. It also increases your risk for glaucoma and cataracts. Most people with diabetes develop only minor eye disorders. Regular checkups can reduce vision problems.
When you have diabetes, you’re at risk for gum disease and infections. Keep a healthy mouth by controlling blood sugar, brushing and flossing every day, and getting a dental cleaning twice a year.
“People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease,” Saul says. When blood sugar isn’t controlled, blood vessels can be damaged. Reduce your risk by eating healthy foods and checking your blood sugar levels as instructed.
In some people, high glucose levels can damage the kidneys. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will give you a urine microalbumin test each year to check your kidneys.
With diabetes, a small cut or blister on a foot could lead to infection and more serious complications. Other potential foot problems include tingling, pain, or dry skin. Check your feet daily for any changes, and report them to your doctor.