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  • Juanita Weaver-Reiss

Part 9 in the series of 9 essential things to know if you have diabetes

This is the final part to what to know if you have diabetes.

A lot of the information has already been covered in some of the other blog posts. So what I will do is put a link to that information in case you haven't read those or listened to the video.

What are some things that you can do to prevent problems from having diabetes.

And the good news is that most complications or health issues can be be prevented.

Let's talk about the steps to take.

1. You are the most important member of the team. Not your doctor, or other providers. It is all about you.

You becoming informed about how to be in charge of how you are managing your diabetes.

You asking questions about your targets - glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, A1C.

You asking for a copy of your lab results when these are done and comparing your numbers to the targets.

You becoming your best advocate and friend to take care of yourself.

You getting a support person - at least one of those - to talk with about your feelings and what is going on in your life.

You asking for help from your doctor, if you feel overwhelmed or confused with anything.

2. Things that you already know:

  • Glucose targets

  • 80 - 130 before meals

  • less than 180 two hours after meals

  • 90 - 150 before bedtime

  • Ask your doctor what your specific targets are

Know what exams and lab tests need to be done, and how often, and what your results are and what are the targets for these tests and exams.

  • A1C checked every 3 to 6 months. Target is less than 7%. Ask your provider if this is your target.

  • Cholesterol checked 1 time each year

  • Cholesterol targets

  • Total cholesterol - less 200

  • HDL - Men - higher than 40, Women - higher than 50

  • LDL - Less than 100, or if you have heart risk - less than 70

  • Triglycerides - less than 150

  • Blood pressure at every visit

  • Blood pressure target - < 140/90

  • Ask your doctor if your target for your BP should be different

  • If you have hypertension, consider monitoring your blood pressure at home

3. Other ways to manage your health

For Eye Health

  • Schedule an eye appointment.

  • Get a dilated eye exam once a year

Your eyes can be affected by diabetes

  • A couple of things can affect your eyes

  • High glucose levels and High blood pressure

  • Know what your blood pressure is and if it is not in target - talk with your doctor

  • Monitor your glucose

  • Know what your A1C is - aiming to have it < 7% or at your target

Both high glucose and high blood pressure can also cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina

  • Diabetic retinopathy can cause these blood vessels to leak fluid or to bleed

  • If untreated, can cause lead to eye damage and vision loss

  • Other eye issues to be aware of are cataracts and glaucoma - both of which are more common when a person has diabetes

  • Retinopathy and macular edema can be identified with a dilated eye exam and this is the best way to prevent problems

Other ways to help with your eye health

  • Choose carbohydrate foods that cause a slow rise in blood glucose levels

  • Brown rice, whole grain breads and crackers, whole grain pasta

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned versions or juices

  • Eat more beans and peas, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils

  • Limit refined breads, cereals, pasta, and rice

  • Stay away from trans fats

  • Trans fat is a man-made fat

  • It can cause HDL's to be lower and LDL's to be higher which increases heart risk

  • It is found in cakes, pies, cookies, crackers, baked goods, and in fast foods

  • It also may increase the risk for macular degeneration, possibly increase plaque development in the small arteries in the eye

  • Get your omega 3 fatty acids

  • Eat 2 fish - rich in omega 3 fatty acids - per week

  • Consider fish oil supplements or chia seeds (ground is better than whole) for alternate ways to get omega 3 fatty acids

  • Eat leafy greens

  • These contain antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin

  • Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are spinach, kale, turnip greens, collards, broccoli, pumpkin, and corn

  • Some studies suggest that eating 1 egg a day can help to increase lutein and zeaxanthin which may help to decrease the risk for macular degeneration

  • Journal of Nutrition in 2006

  • Eat foods high in vitamins C, E, beta carotene and zinc

  • This means a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and heart healthy fats

  • If you smoke, consider quitting

  • Smoking can increase the risk for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma

What steps do you need to take to protect your eyes?

I wish you Best Health.


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