What is diabetes? How can you prevent or manage it? What are some of the complications? What is the importance of regular checkups and screening?
These were some of the questions addressed during the Diabetes Awareness Day event organized by Unison Diabetes Education Program on Friday, November 2nd, 2018 at the Bathurst-Finch Hub. This day was filled with lots of learning and fun; and a great chance for people living with diabetes to meet one another and share experiences. The event featured guest speakers talking about diabetes and the eyes, oral health, foot care and healthy eating. Eye screening, foot care and massage clinics were also available.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to different health complications. But the good news is – it does not have to! When treated properly and well managed, many people living with diabetes can prevent and delay different complications such as:
Eye Damage (Diabetic Retinopathy): Over time, high blood sugars can damage blood vessels in the eye, in particular the retina, and lead to diabetic retinopathy. This can cause vision changes and blindness. It is recommended to get an eye exam once a year, unless otherwise told by your eye doctor. Regular eye exams are important to help reduce the risk of eye damage.
Nerve Damage (Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy): Over time, high blood sugars can damage nerves in the arms, hands, legs and feet. Numbness and sharp, burning and tingling sensations in the toes and feet may be common. People with diabetic peripheral neuropathy have a higher risk for infected wounds, foot ulcers and amputation. Proper foot care is important. It is also recommended to get a foot exam once a year to prevent and make sure problems are caught early. This can be done by a family doctor or foot care specialist.
Oral Health Problems: People living with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of oral problems including gum diseases (gingivitis, periodontitis), infections, dry mouth, ulcers and cavities. If left untreated, gum diseases and infections can affect the gums and destroy the teeth. Proper brushing and flossing, and regular checkups with the dentist is important to make sure problems are detected early and treated properly.
Remember, regular visits with your diabetes healthcare team is very important to help manage your blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes-related complications!
Are you someone who is at-risk or currently living with type 2 diabetes? To learn more about diabetes and get free personalized advice on ways to manage your blood sugars, make an appointment with our Diabetes Education Program team.
For more information and to book an appointment, please call 416-787-1661 ext. 3301 or visit https://unisonhcs.org/programs-services/diabetes-education-program/.