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Tips to avoid diabetes complications

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Exercise is very important
Yoga is a great way to keep in shape

Here are a few things you can do to help keep your diabetes under control and prevent any complications:

- Proper weight management. Having a healthy weight helps control blood sugars. Your doctor, a dietitian, and a fitness trainer can help you create a plan that will work for you.

- Check your blood sugar level at least twice a day. Is it in the range advised by your doctor? Also, write it down so you can track your progress and note how food and activity affect your levels.

- Get A1c blood tests to find out your average blood sugar for the past two to three months. Most people with type 2 diabetes should aim for an A1c of seven per cent or lower. Ask your doctor how often you need to get an A1c test.

- Track your carbohydrates. Know how many carbs you're eating and how often you have them. Managing your carbs can help keep your blood sugar under control. Choose high-fiber carbs such as green vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains.

- Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Diabetes makes heart disease more likely, so keep a close eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about keeping your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure in check. Take medications as prescribed.

- Keep active. Regular exercise can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also cuts stress and helps control blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Get at least 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise five days a week. Start out slowly if you aren't active now with walking, dancing, or any low-impact aerobics. You don't have to do the 30 minutes at once - break it up into 10-minute sessions throughout the day. As you get more active, add some strength and weight training to your routine. Always remember to stretch after each workout.

- Always get a good night's sleep. When you're sleep-deprived, you tend to eat more, and you can put on weight, which leads to health problems. People with diabetes who get enough sleep often have healthier eating habits and improved blood sugar levels.

- Maintain proper stress management. Stress and diabetes don't mix. Excess stress can elevate blood sugar levels. But you can find relief by sitting quietly for 15 minutes, meditating, or practising yoga.

- Get regular check-ups. Get a complete check-up at least once a year, though you may talk to your doctor more often. At your annual physical, make sure you get a dilated eye exam, blood pressure check, foot exam, and screenings for other complications such as kidney damage, nerve damage, and heart disease.