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Remember when it comes to diabetes, you are in control. That is why taking extra good care of yourself is so important.
Poor circulation, nerve damage, and trouble fighting infections can make foot problems very serious, Have your doctor or podiatrist (a foot doctor) test your feet at least once a year for loss of feeling. For patients at increased risk, here are things you can do to help keep your feet in top condition.
- Check your feet every day for redness, swelling, corns calluses, ingrown toenails or breaks in the skin. Use a mirror if necessary. Report any problems to your doctor immediately.
- Cut your toenails straight across, not into the comers, and smooth with an emery board.
- Wear only comfortable, well fitting shoes. If your shoes are uncomfortable, get rid of them.
- Check inside your shoes for foreign objects or rough spots every time you put them on. Don't go barefoot, even indoors.
- Be especially careful with your feet when weather is very hot or very cold.
- Taking your shoes and socks off at every office visit will remind your doctor to check your feet.
Skin problems related to diabetes range from bothersome itching to painful infections. Basic skin care should include the following:
- Bathe every day with mild soap and lukewarm water, using a small amount of lotion afterward to keep skin soft.
- Take extra care to avoid scratches and cuts, and wash cuts with soap and water and cover with sterile bandage. Dress warmly in cold weather.
High blood sugar increases your risk for tooth and gum problems. To help prevent these problems, you should:
- brush and floss every day
- see your dentist at least every 6 months
- tell your dentist you have diabetes
Remember that the eye problems (retinopathy) caused by diabetes have NO symptoms in the early, most treatable stages. Therefore, you should have a complete dilated eye examination every year. And visit your eye doctor if you are experiencing trouble with your vision.
To further reduce your risk of eye problems, you should have your blood pressure checked often and avoid smoking.
The most important things you need to know:
- Controlling your diabetes is in your hands. The more you know about diabetes and act upon that knowledge, the happier and healthier you will be.
- can help you to accomplish your key goals for living successfully with diabetes. Although the day to day management of your diabetes is very much up to you, controlling diabetes is always a team effort. So keep your health care team involved.
Source: Eli-Lilly brochure on Managing your Diabetes
Adapted by Editorial Staff, July, 2005
Last update, July 2008