Rviewed by Di Bush, PhD
Summer is coming and there are simple things you can do to prepare yourself from top to bottom, from your eyes to your feet.
PROTECT YOUR EYES IN STYLE
One of the major problems for people with diabetes is eye damage, which can lead to vision loss. To help prevent that, have at least one yearly visit with an eye doctor. In addition to these visits, you can take specific actions to protect your eyes. Wear UV-protective sunglasses when you head outdoors. Choose any style you like, but make sure your eyes are protected from the sun’s damaging UV-rays. During the summer, the major source of eye damage is the sun. You don’t have to avoid fun in the sun altogether, but you should take steps to protect your eyes.
PROTECT YOUR FEET
Another challenge of diabetes is foot problems, due to a loss of feeling and blood flow in the feet. You have an increased risk of developing foot sores and may not even know it. Also, poor blood flow can cause the smallest foot sores to become infected and take a long time to heal. Remember to check your feet for sores, redness or changes in feeling every day. Even though it’s tempting, do NOT walk around barefoot. If you go to the beach, wear sandals with solid bottoms and covered tops to protect your feet from sharp objects in the sand. If you play sports or go for a walk, wear socks and sneakers to protect your feet from cuts and scrapes. Before you put on your shoes, give them a quick shake to check for pebbles or sharp objects that might have gotten inside. One little cut, scrape or break in the skin is all it takes to cause a problem. Finally, moisturize your feet with foot cream for people with diabetes to reduce dryness and skin cracking.
EXERCISE CAN BE FUN IN THE SUMMER
As the weather gets warmer and the sun comes out, we all have a chance to enjoy new exercise choices. There are so many outdoor activities to choose from. Jog by the lake, go for a bike ride, play basketball or tennis, rollerblade or just go for a morning walk. If you can, do these activities for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Always remember to talk with your healthcare provider before you start any new exercise routine. Regular activity can improve your blood glucose level and help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. It also makes you feel better. When you exercise, your body releases “happy hormones” that lift your spirit and help you feel more energized.