Diabetes Self-Management Articles

Over time, high blood glucose can have harmful effects on the body, leading to complications such as neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney disease), and retinopathy (eye disease). Read the articles below to learn about how to prevent and treat these — and other — complications of diabetes.

Avoiding Complications by Amy Tenderich, MA

Most people who are diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes are told at some point about the long-term damage diabetes can do, such as causing heart attack and stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and limb amputations. Unfortunately, too few are also told…

Also inside: Your Diabetes Health Account

Avoiding Eye Complications by A. Paul Chous, MA, OD

When it comes to diabetes-related eye complications, the good news is that most cases of severe vision loss due to diabetes are preventable. The bad news is that tens of thousands of people still lose vision to diabetes each year, despite all that is…

Also inside: Eye Diseases Associated With Diabetes

Controlling Neuropathic Pain by Erica K. Jacques

In my line of work, I see many clients with neuropathic pain stemming from diabetes. I know from working with my clients that it is often an unrelenting, terrible kind of pain. However, we therapists have a few techniques up our sleeves for “tricking” the nervous system into perceiving less pain…

Also inside: Sources of Aids for Daily Living, Tips for Using Heat and Ice

Coping With Painful Neuropathy by Wendy J. Meyeroff

One of the most prevalent complications of diabetes is neuropathy, or damage to the nerves. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, up to 70% of people with diabetes develop neuropathy, particularly the longer they live with diabetes…

Also inside: For Further Reading

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and James Borders, MD

Neuropathy is an abnormality anywhere in a nerve pathway that disrupts nerve signals, causing the brain to misinterpret feelings or sensations. Different types of neuropathy go by different names, depending on the number of nerves affected, their function, and where in the body they are located…

Also inside: Basic Foot Care

Diet and Neuropathy by Joseph Gustaitis

One of the most common complications of diabetes is peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage in the arms, legs, hands, and feet. Symptoms include tingling or burning sensations, numbness, insensitivity to pain or temperature, cramps, loss of balance…

Finding Help for Kidney Disease

Although managing kidney disease can be a challenge, especially when combined with diabetes management, there are many sources of help and information that can lead to improved health and quality of life. The following resources may be helpful to people dealing with any stage of kidney disease, and to those looking to prevent kidney complications…

How Much Do You Know About Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition in which arteries become narrowed, blocking circulation and potentially causing serious damage. People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing PAD than people who don’t have diabetes. How much do you know about PAD? Take this quiz and find out!

How Much Do You Know About Skin Care?

The skin is the body’s biggest organ, but when people with diabetes think about the complications they might face, skin problems don’t always come to mind. In fact, high blood glucose and the complications it can lead to are associated with a number of skin problems, some of which can become serious if not attended to promptly…

Joint Pain and Stiffness

Aches and pains may seem like just another part of growing older, but stiffness and pain in your joints might have another cause. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, diabetes can affect the musculoskeletal system. The following resources offer information on both how to prevent joint pain and stiffness and how to live well if you’re already dealing with a musculoskeletal condition…

Keeping on Top of Neuropathy by Wayne Clark

Most people with diabetes aren’t fully aware of the dangers of diabetic nerve damage, or neuropathy, which include impotence, heart-rhythm abnormalities, and amputations. Neuropathy affects 90% of people who have had either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes for…

Also inside: Tips for Foot Care

Keeping Your Mouth Squeaky Clean by Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, BSDH

Periodontal (gum) disease has been called the sixth complication of diabetes (in addition to eye, kidney, nerve, foot, and cardiovascular complications) because so many people with diabetes have it. Having high blood glucose raises the risk of developing periodontal disease, and periodontal disease tends to raise blood glucose levels. So clearly, making an effort to brush, floss, and have regular dental checkups is important when you have diabetes…

Kidney Disease by Kathleen Stanley, CDE, RD, LD, MSEd, BC-ADM

According to the National Kidney Disease Education Program, more than 20 million Americans may have kidney disease, and many more are at risk for it. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in the United States…

Also inside: Sample Renal Meal Plan

Kidney Disease Warnings by Joseph Gustaitis

Every year, more than 100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with kidney failure. Over 40,000 of those people have diabetes, which led to their kidney disease. That’s why it’s crucial for anyone with diabetes to know the facts about kidney disease.

Preventing Colorectal Cancer by Judy Giusti, MS, RD, LDN, CDE

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women. It is also the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States. About 57,000 Americans die from this disease each year, and 145,000 new cases are diagnosed. Only lung cancer leads colorectal cancer in cancer deaths…

Also inside: Cancer Resources, Screening for Colorectal Cancer

Preventing Stroke by Patricia Wren

Having a stroke can have devastating consequences. Unfortunately, having diabetes raises the risk of having a stroke. But, by identifying and addressing risk factors, you can lower your risk…

Also inside: Eating Your Way to Lower Stroke Risk, Immediate Action Needed

Protecting Your Kidneys by Robert S. Dinsmoor

Diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) is the leading cause of kidney failure in the United States. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the outlook for protecting your kidneys has gotten much brighter over the past decade or so…

Also inside: Analgesics and Kidney Health, The Function of a Kidney

Resolving Diabetes-Related Bladder Problems by Bradley W. Anderson, MD

Diabetes can cause a host of medical complications, some well-known and others less so. Bladder and voiding (bladder emptying) problems are quite common in people with diabetes, both in those who have had trouble maintaining good blood glucose control and in those who have been able to keep a tight rein on their levels…

The Benefits of Tight Control by Wayne Clark

It has been 16 years since the results of the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) were published. Despite its continuing legacy of proof that maintaining blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible reduces the risk of…

The Pressure Is On by Craig G. Hurwitz, MD

If your doctor has told you that you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, you may well have groaned at the thought of more dietary restrictions and/or another pill to take. Or maybe you just tuned him out. After all, you have enough to do with caring for your diabetes, and how serious could high blood pressure be, anyway, since it has no symptoms?

In fact, high blood pressure is very serious. But paying attention to it now can save you a lot of grief down the road…

Treating Gastroparesis by Kathryn Feigenbaum, RN, MSN, CDE

Although the term gastroparesis may be new to some, the symptoms of this ailment, in which the stomach’s ability to move food into the small intestine is impaired, can be all too familiar, as up to 50% of people with diabetes will develop…

Also inside: Recipes for a Liquid Diet

When Your Legs Ache by Joyce Malaskovitz, PhD, RN, CDE, and Susan Rush Michael, DNSc, RN, CDE

Cramping, pain, or tiredness in the legs when walking or climbing stairs — these may not sound like symptoms of a serious condition. In fact, many people believe that they are normal signs of aging. But they can be signs of peripheral arterial disease, a severe condition that can lead to gangrene and amputation if left untreated. So if you have these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor.

Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

How should I dispose of my used sharps (lancets, syringes, etc.)? Get tip

Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring — Part 3: Smart Monitoring

10 Keys to Long-Term Weight Loss

Take Your Best Shot: Stay Up to Date on Vaccines

Complete table of contents
Subscription questions