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Diabetes can affect every part of your body, from head to toe. People who manage their diabetes properly can live well, without significant complications.
But if you don’t take care of your health, diabetes can lead to problems including damage to the eyes, kidneys, blood vessels and nerves. People with uncontrolled diabetes are also more likely to develop infections, foot ulcers and slow-healing wounds, says Qing Jia, M.D., FACE, an endocrinologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Garland.
“A lot of people with type 2 diabetes don’t even know they have diabetes while the damage starts to develop,” Dr. Jia explains, referring to the most common form of the condition.
Everyone should have a simple blood test to screen for diabetes every year or as recommended by their doctor. Often, before diabetes develops, people are diagnosed with prediabetes, which is essentially an early warning.
A major study demonstrated that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, by losing a modest amount of weight through diet and exercise.
“If you have prediabetes, take steps to modify your lifestyle—and if you have diabetes, you need to do the same thing to manage your condition and avoid complications,” Dr. Jia says. “Routine exercise and a balanced diet are always a key to healthy living.”
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