Grace Weatherby
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2024

Diabetes Management: What You Do Today Impacts All Your Tomorrows

According to Paula Haytko, a diabetes educator with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), one of the biggest challenges—and surprises—for people living with diabetes is the damage it can cause behind the scenes; damage that can lead to life-altering complications that can’t be undone once they set in.

“It helps to visualize the sugar, or glucose, in your blood like sugar in water,” says Haytko. “The more sugar you add to water the thicker and stickier it gets. It goes from running smoothly to flowing slow like syrup and then basically oozing like sugar-rich honey.”

“If you don’t consistently manage your glucose levels, your blood also thickens and get sticky.  The stickier it gets the slower it moves, the less oxygen it delivers throughout that body, and more likely it is to clog blood vessels. The damage results when cells and organs become oxygen starved.”

She adds, “What many people don’t realize is that even though you’re feeling fine today, damage may be occurring within your body. By the time symptoms of a problem appear, it’s often too late to reverse the course or undo the damage that’s already been done.”

Haytko encourages anyone living with diabetes—no matter how recently diagnosed or how long—to join SVMC’s Diabetes Education Program. Offered at the hospital and several SVMC primary care campuses, the program is free of charge and teaches patients how to monitor their glucose levels, improve their numbers through simple lifestyle changes, and more.

“Diabetes is a life-long condition. It’s never too late to start making changes that will help you maintain the best quality of life now and in the future.”

Unmanaged, diabetes can do irreparable harm to your body. Here’s a look at common complications you can avoid through lifestyle changes and staying on top of your condition.

  • Blindness: diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the U.S.
  • Non-traumatic amputation: diabetes is the number one cause of non-traumatic limb loss in the U.S.
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye disease
  • Heart and vascular disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Hearing impairment
  • Skin and mouth conditions
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Click here learn more about SVMC’s Diabetes Education Program.



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