Diabetes management

Good Health magazine
Friday, February 11, 2011
Image: Think Stock
About 270,000 Kiwis are known to have type 1 and type 2 diabetes – with type 2 being labelled an epidemic! In New Zealand, 19 people are diagnosed with diabetes a day, yet there are around 80,000 at risk and 800,000 overweight or obese people who are at high risk of type 2 diabetes.

While diabetes can have an impact on your day-to-day health, it can also have serious effects on your long-term health. If diabetes is not controlled it can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, and/or other complications. That’s why it is important to learn as much as you can about diabetes, its signs, symptoms and risk factors, and what you can do about them.

Good Health's 10-page Health Handbook will help you do just that. Meanwhile, if you or someone you know has diabetes – here are some steps to help you keep diabetes management on track:

Be active: Stay as physically active in as many ways and as often as you can. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day. If necessary, activity can be cumulative, for example, 10+10+10 minutes. It all adds up.

Eat well: Choose a variety of foods that are low in saturated fat and salt. High-fibre foods are also recommended, such as wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Eat less food (energy) than you use (burn) to reduce body weight if you are overweight.

Test your blood glucose levels regularly: Keeping within the recommended ranges will lower your risk of many complications – 4-8mmol/L is the ideal range, but individual goals will vary depending on what your doctor or diabetes educator recommends is right for you.

Stop smoking: If you smoke, STOP. Get help if needed. Talk to your doctor, call Quitline on 0800 778 778.

Control your deinking: If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Watch your weight: Keep track of your weight and waist measurement. If you are overweight, even small amounts of weight loss can make a big difference to your general health and diabetes management.

Check-ups: Get your doctor to arrange for the recommended diabetes management and complication checks and tests – blood pressure every visit, blood glucose average (HbA1c) every three to six months, and cholesterol (blood fats or lipid profile) and kidneys (microalbumin) every year. Ask your doctor whether you have had your Cycle of Care.

Take care of your feet and look at them daily: Cut nails carefully – your podiatrist will show you how – and wear well-fitting supportive shoes. See your podiatrist every 12 months, unless otherwise recommended, for a thorough examination.

Eye test: Have your eyes (retina) checked by an eye specialist or trained optometrist every one to two years, unless otherwise recommended, to check the blood vessels in the back of your eyes.

Look after your wellbeing. Be positive – live well and be well.

Good Health magazine For an in-depth diabetes guide for sufferers and support people, pick up the February issue of Good Health magazine. Get a great subscription deal on Good Health magazine at magshop.co.nz.

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