Take Charge of Your Own Diabetes Care

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 4:53 PM comments (0)

diabetes careThere is no cure for type 2 diabetes but it can be controlled. Controlling type 2 diabetes can become a seamless part of your daily life, from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet to making time for regular exercise.  Lifestyle changes like these are important to prevent diabetic health issues, but it is equally important to stay on top of appointments and health checks with your physician. It doesn’t take long for high blood sugar to damage your body, so regular testing and checkups to catch problems as early as possible are vital. 

Mary Bennett, RD, LD, CDE, Diabetes Education Outpatient Manager at NorthShore, shares a checklist of important diabetic tests and when they need to be done to help you take control of your own type 2 diabetes care:

  • A1c test. Lowering A1c reduces diabetes complications.
    How often: Every 3-6 months.
  • Blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure reduces your risk of stroke, kidney and eye problems.
    How often: Every visit.
  • Cholesterol (LDL) levels. Lowering your LDL level reduces your risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
    How often: Every year.
  • Depression screen. A diabetes diagnosis can be difficult. This test monitors your emotional health and allows you the opportunity to discuss the effect that diabetes may have on your lifestyle.
    How often: Every year.
  • Diabetes kidney function test. Catching and treating early kidney damage may prevent the need for dialysis.
    How often: Every year.
  • Eye exam. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease. It can cause loss of vision and blindness. Early detection is very important.
    How often: Every year. 
  • Foot exam. Diabetes can cause neuropathy, or nerve damage. This nerve damage can lessen your ability to feel pain in your feet and extremities, which means injuries might go unnoticed and worsen over time. Check your feet daily. More comprehensive checks should be done by your doctor as well. He/she will observe your feet, check pulses and test sensation using a monofilament.
    How often: Every year. 
  • Immunizations. Some illness like the flu, pneumonia and tetanus can be very serious for people with diabetes. It is important to stay up-to-date on vaccines to prevent complications.
    How often: Every year. 

Join us November 14th at 10 a.m. for an online medical chat "Living with Diabetes: The Importance of Foot Health" with Harry Papagianis, D.P.M., NorthShore-affiliated Podiatrist. Submit your questions here. 

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