Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose, or sugar. It occurs when your body produces little or no insulin or when your cells don't respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Diabetes usually can't be cured; left untreated — or poorly managed — it can lead to serious long-term complications, including kidney failure, amputation, and blindness. Moreover, having diabetes increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
Healthy tips - Precautions : Diabetes
With good self-management, you can enjoy a healthy life and minimize your chances of developing complications. Here are some essential steps for keeping healthy:
- Practice good blood sugar control.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.
- Have a glycosylated hemoglobin test every three to six months, or more often if you're pregnant.
- Eat a healthy, varied diet, sticking to foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and limit "concentrated" sweets like candy.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a normal weight.
- Schedule regular visits with your doctor. Have your blood pressure and feet checked at all visits. Your doctor should test your blood lipids and kidney function regularly and do an annual EKG.
- Have an annual eye exam by an ophthalmologist. This should be done from the time of diagnosis in people with type 2 diabetes, and starting five years after diagnosis in people with type 1 diabetes.
- To avoid illness, stay up-to-date on your immunizations. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against the flu, pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia and meningitis), hepatitis, tetanus, and diphtheria.
- Practice good foot and skin care.
- Visit a dentist regularly.
- Avoid risky behaviors, such as smoking or drug or alcohol abuse.
- Learn as much as you can about diabetes, and educate others close to you.