Diabetes doesn't have to stop you from leading the life you want, nor does it mean you'll necessarily have other serious health problems in the future – particularly if you manage your condition carefully.
There are many things you can do to minimise your risk of these problems.
The most important steps are ones you take to prevent or delay health complications associated with diabetes. These include:
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. This will help control your blood glucose level, as well as your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s low in fat, salt and sugar.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke even further.
- Get active for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. This helps you stay at a healthy weight and maintain good general health.
- Check your feet every day. The nerve damage that can occur in diabetes most commonly affects feet.
- Ensure you attend your diabetes eye screening (diabetes retinopathy screening) annually.
- Keep your appointments with your diabetes care team. Regular check-ups once every three to six months - depending on your level of diabetes control - with an annual review, are important parts of managing your diabetes.
Without taking these measures, you are putting yourself at an increased risk of health problems, which could force you to change your lifestyle entirely.
If you have been prescribed medication as part of your diabetes treatment it is essential that you take it as instructed, including the correct doses of insulin, if you are on this.
Key blood test results
The amount of sugar sticking to your red blood cells is reflected in your HbA1c blood test result. This measurement is the cornerstone of how good your diabetes control is. Your personal target should be discussed with your doctor or nurse.
Your cholesterol level should be at or below 4mmol/l when fasting.
There is a structured education programme available if you have just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) course is available in English and in Nepali.
The largest charity focused on diabetes research in the UK, providing guidance and support, whether you have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, whatever your age, or if you just want to know more about diabetes.