Champion Home Health Care in Stuart, FL
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Champion HHC Health Information Library

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Blood Sugar

Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and is your body's main source of energy. Your blood carries glucose to all of your body's cells to use for energy.

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious problems. Even if you don't have diabetes, sometimes you may have problems with blood sugar that is too low or too high. Keeping a regular schedule of eating, activity, and taking any medicines you need can help.

If you do have diabetes, it is very important to keep your blood sugar numbers in your target range. You may need to check your blood sugar several times each day. Your health care provider will also do a blood test called an A1C. It checks your average blood sugar level over the past three months. If your blood sugar is too high, you may need to take medicines and/or follow a special diet.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetic Diet

If you have diabetes, your body cannot make or properly use insulin. This leads to high blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. Healthy eating helps keep your blood sugar in your target range. It is a critical part of managing your diabetes, because controlling your blood sugar can prevent the complications of diabetes.

A registered dietitian can help make an eating plan just for you. It should take into account your weight, medicines, lifestyle, and other health problems you have.

Healthy diabetic eating includes

  • Limiting foods that are high in sugar
  • Eating smaller portions, spread out over the day
  • Being careful about when and how many carbohydrates you eat
  • Eating a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables every day
  • Eating less fat
  • Limiting your use of alcohol
  • Using less salt

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetic Eye Problems

If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your eyes. The most common problem is diabetic retinopathy. It is a leading cause of blindness in American adults.

Your retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye. You need a healthy retina to see clearly. Diabetic retinopathy damages the tiny blood vessels inside your retina.

You may not notice it at first. Symptoms can include

  • Blurry or double vision
  • Rings, flashing lights, or blank spots
  • Dark or floating spots
  • Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes
  • Trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes

Treatment often includes laser treatment or surgery, with follow-up care.

Two other eye problems can happen to people with diabetes. A cataract is a cloud over the lens of your eye. Surgery helps you see clearly again. Glaucoma happens when pressure builds up in the eye, damaging the main nerve. Eye drops or surgery can help.

If you have diabetes, you should have a complete eye exam every year. Finding and treating problems early may save your vision.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetic Foot

If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your nerves or blood vessels. Nerve damage from diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. You may not feel a cut, a blister or a sore. Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers and infections. Serious cases may even lead to amputation. Damage to the blood vessels can also mean that your feet do not get enough blood and oxygen. It is harder for your foot to heal, if you do get a sore or infection.

You can help avoid foot problems. First, control your blood sugar levels. Good foot hygiene is also crucial:

  • Check your feet every day
  • Wash your feet every day
  • Keep the skin soft and smooth
  • Smooth corns and calluses gently
  • If you can see, reach, and feel your feet, trim your toenails regularly. If you cannot, ask a foot doctor (podiatrist) to trim them for you.
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold
  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetic Heart Disease

If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes you have an increased risk for heart disease. Diabetic heart disease can be coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure, and diabetic cardiomyopathy.

Diabetes by itself puts you at risk for heart disease. Other risk factors include

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Carrying extra weight around the waist
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking

Some people who have diabetic heart disease have no signs or symptoms of heart disease. Others have some or all of the symptoms of heart disease.

Treatments include medications to treat heart damage or to lower your blood glucose (blood sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol. If you are not already taking a low dose of aspirin every day, your doctor may suggest it. You also may need surgery or some other medical procedure. Lifestyle changes also help. These include a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and quitting smoking.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases