Regular exercise is especially important for people with diabetes. It helps with blood sugar control, weight loss, and high blood pressure. People with diabetes who exercise are less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those who do not exercise regularly.
Here are some exercise considerations:
- Always check with your provider before starting a new exercise program.
- Ask your provider or nurse if you have the right footwear.
- Choose an enjoyable physical activity that is appropriate for your current fitness level.
- Exercise every day, and at the same time of day, if possible.
- Monitor blood glucose levels before and after exercise.
- Carry food that contains a fast-acting carbohydrate in case you become hypoglycemic during or after exercise.
- Carry a diabetes identification card and a cell phone in case of emergency.
- Drink extra fluids that do not contain sugar before, during, and after exercise.
- You may need to change your diet or medication dose if you change your exercise intensity or duration to keep blood sugar levels from going too high or low.
People with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems. Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves and decrease the body’s ability to fight infection. You may not notice a foot injury until an infection develops. Death of skin and other tissue can occur.
If left untreated, the affected foot may need to be amputated. Diabetes is the most common condition leading to amputations.
To prevent injury to the feet, check and care for your feet every day.
With good blood glucose and blood pressure control, many of the complications of diabetes can be prevented.
Studies have shown that strict control of blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels in persons with diabetes helps reduce the risk of kidney disease, eye disease, nervous system disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Emergency complications include:
- Diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar coma
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
Long-term complications include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Diabetic nephropathy
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Erection problems
- Infections of the skin, female urinary tract, and urinary tract
- Peripheral vascular disease
When to contact a provider
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have symptoms of ketoacidosis:
- Abdominal pain
- Deep and rapid breathing
- Increased thirst and urination
- Loss of consciousness
- Sweet-smelling breath
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have symptoms of extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemic coma or severe insulin reaction):
- Convulsions or unconsciousness
- Double vision
- Lack of coordination