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Advice for Diabetics

Almost 27% of U.S. adults 65+ have diabetes. That’s 10.9 million people.

Thanks to advances in medical science, many people with diabetes can enjoy improved quality of life by taking steps to manage their blood sugar levels.  American Diabetes Association provides these simple precautions:

1. Get your flu shot every year.

Coming down with the flu is especially risky for people with diabetes because the stresses of illness can contribute to raised sugar levels. Flu shots provide six months of protection, so get your shot as early in the fall as possible. Also get vaccinated against pneumonia.

2. Make an appointment for a regular eye exam.

Visit an optometrist or an ophthalmologist — specialists who can dilate your eyes to detect signs of retinopathy. It’s not enough to have your eyeglass prescription tested by an optician.

3. Check your feet every day.

Diabetes affects blood flow to the feet, making them more susceptible to dryness, cracking and infection. Make it a daily habit of looking at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.

4. Take good care of your teeth.

Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day and visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning twice a year.

Many of the steps that doctors recommend to help manage diabetes — exercising, not smoking, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink — are similar for anyone trying to lead a healthier life, and the benefits are the same.