The prevention of complications in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, also known as type 2 diabetes, is important for anyone concerned about their health. Complications of type 2 diabetes can cause a host of problems that can have a lasting effect on a diabetic's quality of life. These include bladder problems, erectile dysfunction, nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, retinopathy and kidney disease. Prevention of these complications depends on two main forms of intervention – monitoring and lifestyle changes.
Tests That Come in Handy
All diabetics should have several tests at least once per year to diagnose or prevent complications:
- Check your blood pressure: Your blood pressure should be checked at least once a year. Aim for a reading of 130/80 mm/Hg or lower.
- Have your HbA1c levels checked: If your diabetes is under control, you should check it every six months. If not, at least every 3 months. Organ damage is the result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
- Have your cholesterol and triglycerides checked: Once a year is fine, and your LDL levels should be below 70-100 mg/dl.
- Check your kidneys: Every year you should check to make sure your serum creatinine and microalbuminuria levels are fine.
- Go to the ophthalmologist: In order to make sure you do not have signs of diabetic retinopathy checkups are important.
- See your dentist: You should have dental exams every six months along with a cleaning. Your dentist should be aware that you are diabetic. Take care of your teeth in general by brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly. Diabetes leaves you prone to gum infections.
- Keep your vaccines up to date: Having diabetes lowers your immunity; this is why it's important to stay up to date on your vaccinations.
More Important Things to Consider
The prevention of complications in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus depends on more than just tests. Serious lifestyle changes are critical to your good health. Quitting smoking is essential to prevent diabetes complications such as nerve damage, kidney disease, heart attack, and stroke. According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic smokers are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than diabetic non-smokers.
Manage stress more effectively and avoid it when possible; as your health is worth it. Stress can cause severe fluctuations in blood sugar levels which can cause serious health complications over time.
The Most Important Thing to Consider
The prevention of complications in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus depends on the individual. You should have a health-care team ready to assist you with your needs. Your dietitian, diabetes nurse and doctor are there to show you the basics of diabetes care and offer encouragement where necessary.
From that point on, it is up to you to live a healthier lifestyle. This includes incorporating exercise into your daily routine, checking blood sugars regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and following a heart-healthy diet. A combination of all four of these interventions are extremely effective preventing or reducing the effects of diabetes complications.