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Diabetes

Health tips for diabetes

If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to a wide range of serious complications, like heart disease and stroke and kidney failure. That’s why it’s so important to control it.

Here are some basic tips and advice to help you manage some of those complications.

Sexual health and diabetes

For men with diabetes, erectile dysfunction is common — but it can be managed. Read Diabetes and erectile dysfunction for more information.

But diabetes can affect a woman’s sex life and sexual health too:

  • Reduced sex drive. For some women, feeling tired or upset due to changes in blood glucose levels, vaginal dryness, and depression may mean a loss of interest in sex. But rather than blame yourself or your partner, work together to find solutions.
  • Menstruation and blood glucose. It may be more difficult to manage your blood glucose levels due to changes in your hormones the week before and during your period. Try tracking your menstrual cycle along with your blood glucose levels to spot any patterns.
  • Menopause. Again, hormonal changes may affect your blood glucose levels. But it’s also easy to mistake menopause symptoms for those of low blood glucose — hot flashes, feeling moody and a hazy memory are common to both. It’s important to ensure low blood glucose is the culprit before you try raising it.

Emotions, mental health and diabetes

If you have diabetes, don’t ignore the emotional side of the disease. Along with shock, anger, sadness and fear, you may also feel:

  • Anxiety. A diagnosis may leave you feeling anxious about your future and your ability to manage your diabetes, and some of the complications that come with it. But being diligent with controlling your blood glucose levels and your health, your anxiety may subside.
  • Depression. Depression — which is twice as common in people with diabetes than those without it — can affect your blood glucose management and quality of life. Not sure if you’re depressed or just sad? Read Depression vs. the blues to help find out and learn what to do about it.

Diabetes and eye damage

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, there are good reasons to pay attention to your eye health:

  • Blindness — diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Canada
  • Glaucoma — having diabetes doubles your risk of developing glaucoma
  • Cataracts — you may develop it at a younger age
  • Diabetic retinopathy — the number one cause of blindness for those under 65 years old

To help prevent diabetic retinopathy, see your ophthalmologist at least once a year, ensure your blood glucose levels and A1C target are on track, and keep your blood pressure and blood cholesterol in check.

For more information and support, search “diabetes” in Find Support for organizations in your area.

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