The approach to preventing complications in diabetes has recently shifted from simply lowering your blood glucose levels (BGL) alone to a greater emphasis on other risk factors.
Controlling your glucose level is vital to prevent 'microvascular' complications (i.e. resulting from damage to the small blood vessels) such as kidney failure, loss of vision and neuropathy (nerve damage).
However, most people with diabetes die from 'macrovascular' complications (affecting larger blood vessels) e.g. heart attack, stroke and blocked leg arteries, caused by smoking, raised lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides) and high blood pressure.
Control your glucose levels
You can lower your glucose with regular exercise, weight reduction and a diet low in fats and rich in carbohydrates. Eat more low GI foods as they raise your glucose more slowly.
Smoking is by far the most powerful preventable cause of macrovascular diseases. All diabetic smokers should quit.
Life saving news about cholesterol
New evidence has shown that simvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug (in the statin class), can result in a 25% reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart bypass surgery and blocked leg arteries in diabetic patients, even those with normal cholesterol. Many experts now recommend treatment with statins for all diabetic patients over age 40.
Lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure causes both macrovascular and microvascular complications in diabetes. It can be lowered with weight control, reduced salt, less alcohol, regular exercise, no smoking and medication. The target for diabetes is <130/85.
For more information, go to http://www.idi.org.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.