Q: I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and I'm a little overwhelmed. Can you give me advice on managing my condition successfully?
A: Diabetes can affect every part of the body — from the eyes to the tips of your toes.
The biggest problems for patients tend to be compliance with medications and a general misunderstanding of how diet choices are leading to uncontrolled diabetes, which can result in unpleasant symptoms and severe complications for your heart and blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, GI tract and your eyes.
Foods like sodas, breads and other simple carbohydrates can have a negative effect on blood glucose levels. There are also oral or injectable medications that can keep blood sugars in check.
Diabetes education classes are very helpful as they help you have a deeper knowledge of the condition, behaviors to avoid and how to effectively manage the disease.
If you have concerns or known risk factors, talk with your doctor about screening and lifestyle adjustments you can make now. Controlling the condition or preventing it from developing will help you live a longer and healthier life.
Laura Riley, M.D., is an internal medicine physician at CHI Memorial Internal Medicine Associates-Chattanooga and a member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.