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10 Things Every Diabetic Should Do

Learn about the 10 things all diabetics should do for a healthy life.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
March 22, 2011

Page 2 of 2

5. Protect your kidneys:  Diabetics are also at risk for kidney disease.  A medication belonging to the group called the “Ace Inhibitors,” such as a pill called “lisinopril,” is recommended for most diabetics older than 40 in order to prevent progressive kidney decline.  Check to see if you are taking one of these medications that end in “-pril.” 

6. Get your vaccines:  Diabetics also have a higher risk of infection.  That is likely because bacteria love to live in high sugar environments.  For that reason, doctors recommend diabetics get an annual flu shot, in addition to the pneumonia shot once before age 65 and once after age 65 (with at least 5 years in between).

7. Get eye checks:  Every diabetic should also get a yearly eye check that includes being examined with a special retinal photo machine or by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) who takes a look at the retina, or the back of the eye, for changes produced by diabetes.  Many doctors offices have this retinal photo machine.

8. Get feet checks:  Just like the annual eye check, a yearly feet check should also be performed by your doctor.  Your doctor will use a special flimsy plastic-like device, called a monofilament, that tests your nerves and sensation on the bottom of your feet.

9. Watch your carbohydrates: We recommend most diabetics keep  each meal below 45 grams of carbohydrates for the average person.  It’s also important to keep a routine meal schedule, without skipping meals (especially if you are on insulin), and to accompany each carbohydrate with a protein.  It’s important to learn how to read food labels, and if you need help, ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionist or to a diabetes class to help you eat right.

10. Exercise:  Exercise has been shown to improve insulin resistance--the main issue in those with type II diabetes.  Insulin Resistance means that your body does not respond efficiently to sugar and carbohydrates and so your blood sugars are generally high.  Exercise helps to decrease blood sugars and my patients who exercise often tell me that they notice a difference in their blood sugars once they start exercising.  Consider starting a regimen, with a minimum of 30 minutes on most days out of the week (as long as your doctor gives you the heart-okay to exercise). 

Don’t forget to join the House Call Doctor's Facebook page, where you can read my health-related posts and links, and where you can ask me your medical questions!

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only.  This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider.  Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

Diabetes image from Shutterstock

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