Caring for Your Body With Type 2 Diabetes

Controlling blood sugar is the most effective way to prevent diabetes complications. Additional self-care steps can help safeguard vulnerable areas of your body.

Moisturizer, toothpaste, a water bottle, and sunglasses: These might sound like things to pack for a weekend getaway, but they’re actually an essential part of a diabetes hygiene plan that covers you from head to toe and keeps you healthy.

That’s because, when you have diabetes, your blood vessels help transport glucose and insulin throughout the body. But when you have unmanaged high blood sugar, these blood vessels can also become damaged, which can in turn cause damage to various parts your body. So if you have diabetes, caring for your entire body is essential to help protect your overall health.

Your mouth. Diabetes significantly increases your risk for dental problems, as high blood sugar in your saliva can promote the growth of harmful mouth bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities. What’s more, because high blood sugar leads to damaged blood vessels, it can reduce the supply of oxygen and nourishment to the gums, and make infections like gum disease more likely. Brown recommends carefully brushing twice a day and flossing daily, and dental checkups every 6 months. “Healthy teeth are very important for eating the healthy foods that people with diabetes need to stick with,” she says. This will be a struggle if you have poor oral health.

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