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Diabetes Management and Prevention

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and amputations. However, diabetes can be prevented or delayed by following evidence-based self-care and clinical preventive health care practices.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the preventive care practices that can help people with diabetes manage their condition and improve their health outcomes. These practices are based on the latest scientific research and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Preventive Care Practices for Diabetes

According to the CDC, preventive health care practices for diabetes include:

- Getting regular A1C tests. A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. It helps you and your health care provider monitor how well your diabetes is controlled and adjust your treatment plan if needed. The ADA recommends getting an A1C test at least twice a year if your diabetes is well managed, and more often if it is not.

- Getting annual foot and eye exams. Diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your feet and eyes, leading to infections, ulcers, and vision loss. To prevent these complications, you should have your feet checked by a health care professional at least once a year for signs of damage or infection. You should also have a dilated eye exam by an eye doctor at least once a year to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness among adults with diabetes.

- Attending diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) classes. DSMES is a service that teaches you how to manage your diabetes through healthy eating, physical activity, medication use, blood sugar monitoring, problem-solving, coping skills, and reducing risks. DSMES can help you improve your blood sugar control, lower your risk of complications, enhance your quality of life, and reduce health care costs. The ADA recommends attending DSMES classes when you are diagnosed with diabetes, when your treatment plan changes, or when you need additional support.

- Engaging in physical activity. Physical activity can help you lower your blood sugar levels, improve your insulin sensitivity, reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, strengthen your heart and muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The ADA recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) per week, spread over at least 3 days with no more than 2 consecutive days without activity. You should also do some muscle-strengthening activities (such as lifting weights) at least 2 times per week.

- Not smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and worsen the complications of diabetes. Smoking can damage your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce your oxygen supply to your tissues, impair your wound healing, and increase your risk of infections. If you smoke, you should quit as soon as possible. You can get help from your primary care provider or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support.

- Monitoring blood sugar daily. Monitoring your blood sugar levels can help you understand how food, physical activity, medication, stress, and other factors affect your diabetes. It can also help you detect high or low blood sugar levels and take action to prevent or treat them. You should check your blood sugar levels as often as recommended by your primary care provider using a glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). You should also keep a record of your results and share them with your primary care provider.

Benefits of Preventive Care Practices for Diabetes

Following preventive care practices for diabetes can have many benefits for your health and well-being. Some of the benefits include:

- Reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications. Preventive care practices can help you prevent or delay the onset of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and kidney failure, blindness, and amputations. These complications can impair your quality of life and increase your health care costs.

- Improving blood sugar control. Preventive care practices can help you achieve and maintain optimal blood sugar levels within the target range set by your primary care provider. This can reduce the damage to your organs and tissues caused by high blood sugar levels.

- Enhancing quality of life. Preventive care practices can help you improve your physical and mental health, increase your energy levels, boost your mood and self-confidence, reduce stress and depression, and enjoy a better social life.

- Saving money on health care costs. Preventive care practices can help you avoid or reduce the need for expensive medications, hospitalizations, surgeries, and other treatments for diabetes and its complications. This can save you money on health care bills and insurance premiums.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a serious condition that can have devastating consequences for your health and well-being. However, you can prevent or delay diabetes and its complications by following evidence-based self-care and clinical preventive health care practices. These practices include getting regular A1C tests and annual foot and eye exams, attending DSMES classes, engaging in physical activity, not smoking, and monitoring blood sugar daily. By following these practices, you can improve your blood sugar control, reduce your risk of complications, enhance your quality of life, and save money on health care costs.

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