How to prevent complications of diabetes

By Dr. Hemi Soneja in Endocrinology & Diabetes

Feb 09 , 2021 | 2 min read

Diabetes as we all understand by now is a disease of complications. It affects your body from head to toe and can lead to complications like stroke, heart attack, retinopathy (which can cause sudden blindness), kidney failure (Nephropathy), affect your nerves (neuropathy), etc.

  It is of utmost importance that we understand how to prevent these complications.  

Here are a few general pointers to keep in mind:

Lot of diabetes related complications do not have significant symptoms beforehand so screening for those early on is important. 

  1. Keep blood sugar in control. Irrespective of whatever medications or insulins one might be taking, it is very important to monitor your blood sugar yourself at home as per the recommendations of your doctor.  The frequency of monitoring might vary from once a month to 3-4 times a day depending on how you are doing and what treatment you are on.  It has been observed that people who monitor sugars on a regular basis tend to have a better sugar control compared to people who do not. 
  2. Keep your BP (blood pressure) in check. This helps decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems  and retinopathy as well. 
  3. Maintain your cholesterol levels. There are a lot of conflicting news that one would come across when it comes to cholesterol. There is a lot known about the side-effects of cholesterol on diabetes related complications and still a lot more which is not known.  As per the American Diabetes Association recommendations worldwide, it is recommended that the cholesterol levels should be checked for people with diabetes and the ideal level is determined by a number of factors like family history, history of smoking or past history of medical problems. So take recommendations from your doctor regarding what your cholesterol level goals should be and whether you need to be on medications for managing it. If a cholesterol lowering medication is recommended for you then you would need to take them inthe long term. 
  4. Stop smoking. In addition to the known problems associated with smoking, the combination of diabetes and smoking increases the risk of diabetes related complications aggravated.  Quitting smoking will help decrease the risk of diabetes related complications. 
  5. Regular health checks - In addition to regular doctor visit, it is recommended that one also  get dental and complete eye check up done once a year irrespective of having any problems or not. Diabetes is associated with significant dental problems, pyorrhoea and infections, so as a routine they should get an yearly dental exam.  Diabetes can also cause retina problem which can lead to sudden blindness if not detected on time. It is therefore recommended to get an yearly eye exam so that any problem can be picked up timely and avoid sudden loss of vision.

Lot of diabetes related complications do not have significant symptoms beforehand so screening for those early on is important.

      6. Vaccination - Just likevaccines are recommended  for children to help decrease the risk of certain infections, certain types of vaccines are also recommended  for adults with diabetes to help decrease the risk of certain infections like Hepatitis B, Influenza, Pneumonia and Tetanus on a regular basis. Discussion regarding vaccination with your doctor in your yearly visit take place. In addition to that maintain a record of your vaccinations.