Over the last several years, a number of studies have shown us that diabetes-related complications are the consequence of both poor glucose control and conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The latter are associated with advancing age, genetic risk, and an unhealthy lifestyle. As long as you continue to control your blood sugar, with close follow-up from your Dr, then concentrating on lifestyle factors is the best way to improve your odds of avoiding complications.
As you grow older, regular exercise and ideal body weight maintenance become increasingly important components of diabetes care.
Having a sustained normal or near-normal glucose level, blood pressure below 120/80, and a low-density lipoprotein level below 100 mg/dl will help in staving off bad outcomes.
Besides home glucose monitoring, get an A1c test regularly. Levels below 7% are associated with reduced complications—close to 6 is even better.
Other risk factors you can change through exercise and a healthy diet include a triglyceride level below 150 mg/dl and and an HDL-C level above 40 mg/dl.
If you are over age 40, you might be able to take a daily aspirin, which considerably reduces cardiovascular risk. Most importantly, quitting smoking is the single most critical step you will ever take toward preventing many of the diabetes-related complications.
-Excerpted from Everyday Health
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