Diabetes: Avoiding Complications

Did you know that you may be able to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and its complications? Read on to learn more about the possible complications of diabetes and how you can avoid them.

About diabetes

There are 2 main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both affect the way your body uses insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps convert the food you eat into energy.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the insulin produced by the body is not used effectively. Type 2 diabetes may be preventable through changes to your lifestyle, such as diet and exercise.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s important to manage the condition. Unmanaged diabetes can put you at increased risk for the development of certain complications.

Eye for detail

Eye disease (or “retinopathy”) is one of the complications of diabetes. People with diabetes should pay close attention to any changes in their vision and should ask their family doctor about getting an eye examination. Make an appointment at Walmart Vision Centre to have a licensed optometrist conduct an eye examination if you have noticed changes in your vision.
Generally, people with diabetes will have eye examinations once every year or two, or more often if eye disease is already present.


The whole tooth

Caring for your teeth and gums is always important, and even more so if you have diabetes. Regular cleanings and check-ups with your dentist can help prevent any gum- or teeth-related problems. You’ll want to prevent the development of gum disease, which can have an impact on your blood glucose control. Make sure you mention to your dentist that you have been diagnosed with diabetes.


Whole-hearted attention

Diabetes is linked to an increased risk of heart-related complications. A healthy diet, combined with regular exercise (150 minutes per week) can help.
Aim for a blood pressure of less than 130/80, and have your pressure checked regularly. Have your cholesterol levels checked at least once every 1-3 years. Some people at particularly high risk will be prescribed medications that help lower BP or cholesterol.
[callout box] Remember to look for foods that help increase your HDL (“good”) cholesterol (the so-called “good” cholesterol) and avoid foods that raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.


Caring for kidneys

High blood glucose over a long period of time can cause damage to the blood vessels in your kidneys, which can lead to a condition called “nephropathy.” Having your kidney function screened once or twice a year can help you stay on top of any problems before they worsen. Keeping your blood glucose in your target range can help prevent nephropathy.


Steady nerves

Your blood vessels and nerves are affected by diabetes, leading to a condition called “neuropathy.” Signs and symptoms of neuropathy can include pain, tingling sensations, or burning, particularly in your body’s extremities. This is another reason for keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check to keep your blood circulating smoothly through your body. Circulation problems can also lead to erectile dysfunction for men.


Staying a-foot

Foot health with diabetes can be more challenging because sometimes the sensation is reduced by nerve damage. Inspecting your feet daily is important so that you can note any problems before they worsen. Blisters, cuts, cracks in the skin, swelling, redness, calluses or in-grown toenails should be treated by a healthcare professional.
You need to protect your feet. This means always wearing socks and keeping your feet warm and dry.
Yearly foot inspections at your diabetes check-ups are crucial. If you notice any foot problems, it is important to have them checked out right away.


Diabetes testing

A1C testing: this test measures an average of your blood glucose levels over a period of three months. Your A1C is a target number: for most people with diabetes, it will be 7.0% or lower. Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for advice on A1C testing.
Blood glucose monitoring: checking your blood glucose is done by using a small sample of blood on a testing strip, which is entered into a blood glucose meter. The meter automatically reads the strip and gives you a number in mmol/L (“millimoles per litre” of blood). Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for information on blood glucose meters.


Healthy lifestlye

Plan for healthy eating: see a dietitian or nutritionist to help you understand how diet impacts diabetes. Eat a well-balanced diet that covers off the suggestions found in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
Quit or moderate unhealthy behaviours: If you smoke, quit. Smoking can interfere with your diabetes care. Alcohol may be consumed in moderation, but it is best to keep it to a minimum.
Be active: physical activity can help you keep blood glucose in check. Consider activities like riding a bicycle, raking the leaves, doing yard work, golfing, or swimming.


Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is knowledgeable about diabetes care and can help you with your diabetes self-management. Just ask.

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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