Health Care

Managing Your Diabetes

Finding out you have diabetes can be life changing. This condition affects about 34 million Americans and can be debilitating or fatal if not taken seriously.

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar. When a person has diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin (type 1) or is unable to properly use insulin (type 2). When the body does not have enough insulin or cannot use it properly, blood sugar

(glucose) builds up in the blood. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

Whether you have type one or type two, diabetes is a challenging illness to live with. While numerous health complications are common, there’s a lot you can do to stay on top of your diabetes with healthy lifestyle habits. By following some simple tips, you can keep your blood sugar in check and prevent issues before they begin.

Dana Stewart speaks with patient

Common Diabetes Complications

When you have diabetes, it’s important to take care of yourself with consistency and compassion.

“People with uncontrolled diabetes are at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney and eye disease. It is essential to control diabetes to decrease these risks. Many times, patients do not have any symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes until the damage has already occurred,” said Dana Stewart, FNP-C, of AdventHealth Medical Group Endocrinology at Calhoun.

Diabetes Care Tips

These complications can turn into serious health issues if they aren’t addressed properly. The good news is you can keep your diabetes under control by turning healthy choices into habits. Stay healthy with diabetes and live life to the fullest by following these tips:

Check Your Glucose Regularly

By monitoring your glucose numbers, you can learn how your body responds to different foods, exercise and medications. With this data, you can better avoid serious diabetes complications such as eye problems, heart disease and stroke. Continuous glucose monitors are helpful to track your body’s responses and patterns.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking can make it harder to keep your diabetes under control. It can also increase your odds of a host of health issues like decreased circulation in your legs and feet, and can negatively affect your gums, eyes, kidneys and heart as well as contribute to nerve damage.

Give Your Feet Extra Attention

Diabetes can damage nerves that would normally alert you to pain. Check your feet and toes carefully once a day. Look and feel for dry skin, swelling, hot spots, calluses or cuts. If it’s hard to see the bottoms of your feet, a mirror can help. Use warm water to wash them gently. Then, dry them and apply lotion to moisturize them. Don’t use lotion between the toes.

Go to Your Doctor’s Appointments

Keep your regularly scheduled visits with your provider and seek treatment immediately if you notice a problem, such as a possible foot infection. The care team at AdventHealth Medical Group Endocrinology at Calhoun works with patients to provide an individualized treatment plan to help manage their diabetes. This treatment plan includes meal planning, medication management and blood glucose monitoring. This allows the patient to reach and maintain blood glucose goals.

Take Good Care of Your Teeth

Keeping your smile healthy is important because high blood sugar can lead to more sugar in your saliva. Cavities and gum disease can result. To keep your teeth in good shape, brush them thoroughly with a fluoride-containing toothpaste twice a day. Floss at least once a day, and don’t skip out on your dentist appointments.

Take Your Medicine as Directed

Your health care provider may prescribe medicine to control your blood sugar, blood pressure and/or cholesterol. Follow their instructions carefully to manage your diabetes.

Treatment Options for Diabetes

Your primary care physician will serve as your centralized care manager with your endocrinologist (the specialist that treats diabetes), a registered dietitian or nutritionist, eye doctor, foot doctor, dentist, diabetes educator and pharmacist. Failing to treat diabetes of any type can cause blindness, stroke, heart disease, nerve damage, amputations of limbs and/or kidney failure.

Diabetes Management for a Whole You

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, know that it’s very treatable when managed properly and consistently. Whatever your diagnosis and treatment plan include, AdventHealth is here to help you live your best life.

“We are so excited to have an endocrinology clinic in Gordon County. We want our community to know we are here to help you control your diabetes and to improve your quality of life,” said Stewart.

If you’re in need of a primary care physician to help you along your health care journey, click here to learn more. For more information on AdventHealth Medical Group Endocrinology at Calhoun, call 706-879-5820.

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