This is the final post in a three-part series I have written about Type 2 diabetes. To read Part I, where I cover what Type 2 diabetes is and how it can be managed, click here. In Part II, I covered diet, the importance of weight management, drinking lots of water, exercising, managing stress and getting enough sleep in controlling Type 2 diabetes. Click here to read Part II. In this post, I will cover the importance of caring about your feet, teeth and eyes as a diabetic, as well as recording your blood sugar levels. I also discuss how belonging to a diabetes association can be helpful. To close, I set out some further suggested reading about diabetes.
Diabetics need to take extra care of their feet. Dry between your toes after showering. Every year, make sure the nurse at your practice checks your feet for sensation. Always wear shoes, both indoors and outdoors. This is important to remember in NZ where a barefoot culture in prevalent on the beach and around the home. Watch out for cuts as they can lead to infections.
Diabetics need to take extra care of their teeth. Make sure you visit your dentist every six months for a check-up.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, your GP should refer you Retinal screening every 2-3 years. This is where they check behind your eyes for bleeding. Not all optometrists do this so you may find that you have to go to different clinic to your normal optometrist. You might also notice that your eyes feel a lot drier since your diagnosis. Eye drops can help to relieve dry eyes temporarily.
Record your blood sugar levels
Invest in a blood testing machine. Your doctor will tell you how regularly you need to test your blood sugar. It’s a good idea to keep note of this. You might find that your morning blood sugar is higher than your evening one. Don’t worry as this is normal. Have your HBA1c tested every year.
It can be a good idea to join a diabetes association for support. Ours has monthly meetings with a guest speaker about a topic related to diabetes. You don’t always have to go to the meetings if you’re busy and/or the topics don’t interest you but if you are a member you have access to someone for support if you have any questions. The magazine they send out contains advice, recipes, tips etc which is also helpful.
There are a lot of resources about diabetes in print and electronic form. I highly recommend the book, Diabetes: A Practical Guide to Managing your Health (see below), which a former flatmate while I was living in London who had Type 1 diabetes recommended to me.
o Diabetes Strong, https://diabetesstrong.com/, a portal created by Christel Oerum who has Type 1 diabetes and who you may recall me mentioning in a previous post
o Rosemary Walker & Jill Rodgers, Diabetes: A Practical Guide to Managing your Health, Dorling Kindersley, 2004