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Diabetes in teens - complications

Reduce the risk

The complications of diabetes are serious and it can be scary to think about it all when you're still dealing with the news that you have diabetes. But take comfort in the fact that you can greatly reduce the risk of complications by keeping good control of your blood glucose levels.

Take control

A large research study called the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) proved what many people already believed – the better you control blood glucose levels, the lower your risk of complications.

Right now, you might not want to think about the long-term complications of diabetes. But taking action today will reap rewards in the future. Keeping your blood glucose levels between the target range (4–8mmol/l* before meals and less than 10mmol/l two hours after meals for most of the time) is not the only step you can take to reduce your risk of developing complications.

What are the main complications of diabetes?

There are four main complications:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Retinopathy (eye disease)
  • Neuropathy (nerve disease)
  • Nephropathy (kidney disease).

How can I reduce my risk of developing complications?

There are eight key steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing complications:

  1. Have regular check-ups with your healthcare team – at least once a year.
  2. Check that your healthcare team does a long-term check on your diabetes, such as an HbA1c test.
  3. Test your blood glucose levels at home regularly, and record the results, aiming for between 4–8mmol/l* before meals and less than 10mmol/l two hours after meals for most of the time.
  4. Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  5. Keep your blood pressure and blood fats (eg cholesterol) under control.
  6. Eat a healthy balanced diet.
  7. Increase your level of physical activity.
  8. Don't smoke.

You'll find loads of tips and information in theMe and my diabetessection to help you achieve these steps.

*millimoles per litre: a measure of the concentration of a substance in a set amount of liquid.

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