Be first on line for your flu shot
Any infection, including the flu, can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels and diabetes control, according to Joseph A. Aloi, MD, the section chief of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “If you’re living with diabetes, infections can lead to more complications, and if you are hospitalized, your hospital stay will be longer than people without diabetes, so the key is to prevent infections in the first place.” Get your flu shot and get it early, he adds. Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. Also talk to your doctor about shots for pneumonia and Hepatitis B prevention. “Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands,” adds Davida F. Kruger, a nurse and diabetes expert at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and the author of The Diabetes Travel Guide. “If you want to stay healthy, carry hand sanitizer with you wherever you go in case you can’t access a sink.” If you’re working on prevention, learn 12 surprising habits that can cause diabetes.
Be an eye catcher
See your eye doctor yearly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. “If we catch eye changes early, we can prevent further damage,” Dr. Aloi says. “Diabetes is still the leading cause of adult blindness and it is largely preventable.” Unfortunately, this message doesn’t seem to be getting through. Some 58 percent of people with diabetes did not have regular follow-up eye exams, according to research presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago. These vision screens can catch diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina and often has no symptoms. Other diabetes-related eye diseases that can be spotted during a yearly eye exam include macular edema (the buildup of fluid in the macula, a small area in the retina), cataracts (clouding of the lens), and glaucoma (a disease affecting the main nerve in the eye).