Monitoring diabetes and health
How does diabetes affect the body?
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels and if it is not controlled properly it can cause damage to the major organs. In addition to affecting blood sugar levels diabetes can increase your risk of developing other health conditions, so it is important to keep an eye on your health and follow your doctor’s advice. Diabetics should be aware of their blood glucose levels at all times and they should have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis.
Diabetes can increase the risk of foot problems. Foot ulcers are very common among diabetics and diabetes can damage the nerves in their feet (this is known as neuropathy). Diabetes can also affect your circulation, which may cause pain. You can try to prevent this by giving up smoking, doing regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, keeping your blood glucose levels stable and seeing your podiatrist (or chiropodist) on a regular basis.
In order to reduce the risk of developing foot problems you can follow these tips:
- Wash your feet on a daily basis and dry your feet thoroughly
- Keep your skin healthy, use moisturiser and ensure that your feet are dry after washing
- Keep your nails healthy
- Wear suitable footwear - ask your podiatrist for advice about footwear, as wearing shoes that fit properly is very important
Eye and vision problems
Diabetes can cause problems with the eyes and if you develop symptoms associated with either of these complaints you should see your doctor. It is also important to attend regular dental appointments, as studies have linked diabetes with an increased risk of gum disease. Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, which is a condition that causes damage to the retina. Diabetics are entitled to free screening for retinopathy on the NHS and it advisable to make the most of this opportunity.
Children with diabetes are advised to have regular eye tests and screening for retinopathy from the age of 12.
If you have diabetes and you own an iPhone or iPad you an download an app from Diabetes UK, which allows you to track your blood glucose levels and calculate the amount of calories you have eaten, as well as a number of other useful features.
It is important that you take steps to control your diabetes, as if it is not controlled properly, it can increase your risk of becoming ill because the major organs can be damaged. If you are finding it difficult to control your blood sugar levels talk to your doctor.
It is imperative that you have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This only takes a couple of minutes but it is essential for good health.