Lifestyle changes and medications may help people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes ward off complications

Although there are numerous medications to help people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, healthy lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and eating well, are needed to ensure that these individuals are practicing optimal diabetes management.

In a recent article published by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Daniel Einhorn, MD, discussed how proper blood sugar control may help the millions of people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes avoid complications related to their condition.

He explained that there are two main categories that these types of problems fall under, which are microvascular and macrovascular. The former involves the small blood vessels that transport blood throughout the body. Poor blood sugar monitoring that leads to microvascular problems often affect the eyes, kidneys and peripheral nerves through these tiny pathways.

Einhorn told the news source that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among American adults. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop this condition than those with type 2 diabetes, he said.

Kidney damage is another form of microvascular complication. The news provider reported that when this organ does not function properly in diabetics, these people often require transplants or dialysis to filter their blood.

Macrovascular problems include those related to the cardiovascular system, including heart attack and stroke.

The health expert stressed that diligent blood glucose monitoring is one of the best ways for people with diabetes to avoid these complications.

"Take whatever steps are necessary to keep blood sugar levels less than 100 upon waking and less than 140 two hours after meals," Einhorn said, quoted by the news organization.

The World Diabetes Foundation states that some of the most widely recommended lifestyle changes for individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes include participating in stress relief or relaxation techniques, such as exercise or yoga, and limiting dietary intake of saturated fats and simple sugars.