Search This Blog

Monday, October 4, 2010

Diabetes Complications - Tips On Preventing Complications

 By John Ngijseh


Diabetes can lead to a host of complications especially if blood glucose (sugar) is uncontrolled. Complications can affect the heart, eyes, feet and kidneys. By monitoring your body's glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, protein, and ketones you can find out when there is a problem and contact your doctor to take action. In this article we focus on what you can monitor to detect problems and how.
Monitor your blood glucose - good blood glucose control can prevent or delay the onset of most diabetes-related complications. A desirable blood glucose range for most people is 80 to 120 mg/dL before breakfast, 180 mg/dL or less, 2 hours after meals and 100 to 140 mg/dL before bedtime. With a wide range of home use glucose meters on the market there is no reason why you could not monitor your own levels. For more guidance on choosing a glucose meter visit our guide to glucose meters.
Check your A1C levels - also known as HbA1c or glycosylated haemoglobin level. This test provides a "picture" of how well your diabetes has been controlled over a period of 2-3 months. A blood glucose test gives you a result a result at a particular time, the A1c check tells you how you are doing overall. Ideally all diabetics should have this measurement done at least annually, if not more frequent. Good diabetic control is assumed at levels of 7% or below. At present you would need to have the check done via your doctor or a lab but there are a few home test kits coming onto the market slowly. To learn more, visit our article on the importance of A1c
Monitor your blood pressure regularly - tight blood pressure control can be essential in preventing heart problems latter on. High blood pressure often occurs in diabetes and since it has no symptoms it is very important to measure your blood pressure routinely, at least every three months. Blood pressure levels for a person with diabetes should be kept ideally less than 130 mm Hg systolic and less than 75 mm Hg diastolic but as more and more clinical trials are done on the subject the target numbers can change. If you have high blood pressure stick to the targets set by your doctor. To learn more visit our article on high blood pressure and diabetes.
Monitor your cholesterol levels - You should check your cholesterol levels once a year. People with diabetes have a greater risk of heart disease, this means monitoring the risk factors of heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, needs to be done regularly. There are now a range of home cholesterol kits which allow you to take control and check your cholesterol yourself. Accu-chek have the Accutrend plus which measures blood cholesterol but is expensive, the cheaper option is to use a self check testing kit. The target total cholesterol level is to aim for below 5 mmol/L but your doctor may have a different target for you. There is good evidence that an even lower cholesterol may be better.
Check your urine protein - You should check for protein in your urine once a year usually as a part of your annual diabetic check up. Protein in the urine can be a sign of kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy) and a positive result needs to be discussed with your doctor. You can check your urine protein at home using a urine dip stick such as Albustix.
Have an eye test - one of the possible complications of diabetes is a loss of sight through diabetic retinopathy. Having an eye check once a year will help detect any problems with the health of your eyes and sight. Early detection is the key for any successful action.
Check your feet - examine and check your feet regularly. You should make a point of doing this as problems with your feet can go undetected. Our feet spend the bulk of the day covered in socks and footwear. We rarely see our feet and if we don't look, we won't know. If your are experiencing a complication of diabetes, such as a loss of your pain senses, you may not realise when you have cut or injured your feet. Early detection is key and costs nothing to check.
To learn more see our article on diabetic foot.
These are the main areas you should monitor and alert your doctor if your results are outside the range you and your doctor have agreed.
Monitoring your blood glucose is easy and there are a range of accucheck glucometers that can help. Click on the link to learn more.
You've read about preventing diabetic complications, now we would advise you to read about preventing high blood sugar in our article Signs of High Blood Sugar.
This article was brought to you by John Ngijseh of We specialise in products to help with diabetic testing.


  1. Diabetes is sure on the rise! It can be tough when there are food issues involved. I'm allergic to soy as well as coeliac and eating out becomes quite a key issue for me. All the best!

  2. I guess the issue could be that people with a 'normal' insulin balance aren't controlling their sugar levels overall as well! Interesting facts!