By Mary F. Carroll, MD, SMGOR Eastside Clinic
If you have Type I or Type II Diabetes, it is important that you visit your doctor regularly. Most people will have check-ups every three to six months. At these visits, you and your doctor will review day to day control of your blood sugar as well as your A1c. Without ongoing care and proper management, diabetes can lead to a buildup of sugars in the body and cause serious complications such as stroke, heart disease, eye problems, kidney problems, and peripheral neuropathy of the feet which can lead to ulcers, infection, and even leg amputation. The good news is that with good control, all of these can be prevented.
What is an A1c?
A hemoglobin A1c (or A1c for short) is an average measurement of your blood sugar for the past three months. This test helps give you and your doctor a snapshot of how well you have been controlling your sugar. The goal for most people is to have an A1c between 6.5% and 7.5%, which is equal to a blood sugar average of 154.
How can I improve my blood sugar numbers?
There are many ways to improve your blood sugar! Your doctor can discuss these options with you in more detail at your visit. A great place to start is exercise. You should start slowly and build up to a goal and remember to talk to your doctor before starting a new routine. Diet is another area that you may be able to improve. Your doctor may have you meet with a registered dietician at BMC to learn more. Also, your doctor may recommend medications that will help you better control your diabetes.
What else can I do to stay healthy?
Remember to perform daily foot checks. This means you should look at and feel your feet every day. Active daily walking, diabetic sugar management, diet control, and regular foot check-ups with your doctor can keep your feet healthy. Any unusual sores, blisters, calluses, non-healing wounds, numbness, pain, or tingling sensation in the feet warrant a foot evaluation with a doctor. Maintaining healthy feet is important!
Remember to have yearly eye exams. High blood sugar can affect your blood vessels, and it is important for your eye doctor to check for these changes at least yearly, even if your vision is fine.
And be sure to get your recommended immunizations including the pneumonia vaccine, a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster every 10 year, and an annual flu shot.
Where can I learn more?
Visit the American Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.org. You’ll find more information about living with diabetes and for recipes and tips on staying healthy.
Remember, your diabetes does not control you! Through regular doctor visits, you can manage your diabetes!
Mary F. Carroll, MD
Dr. Carroll is a Board Certified Endocrinologist who sees adult and adolescent patients for the investigation and management of diabetes, thyroid dysfunction and other hormonal disorders. She has certifications in AACE (thyroid ultrasound and FNA biopsy) and ISCD (clinical Density metric) including advanced training in thyroid ultrasound, thyroid biopsy and insulin pump management and her areas of interest include diabetes, osteoporosis and thyroid cancer