For the 16 million Americans with diabetes, high blood glucose (sugar) levels can pose serious health threats like blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and foot ulcers that lead to amputations.

There is encouraging news, however, for people with diabetes. A new study from Oxford University in England shows that lowering blood glucose levels to as close to normal as possible, and lowering blood pressure if it's high, can delay or even prevent these devastating complications. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes work with a team of health care professionals to establish a treatment plan that suits their needs.

In addition, people with diabetes can
keep in mind the following tips:

  • Try to lose a few pounds if you're overweight.

  • Work with a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that's right for you. Eat a wide variety of foods each day. Choose foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.

  • Pick your favorite way to exercise and do it three to four times a week. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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  • Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily and see your dentist twice a year.

  • Keep your blood pressure in control and lower your blood cholesterol if it is over 200mg/dl.

  • Don't smoke.

  • See your eye care specialist annually for a dilated eye exam.

  • Check your feet daily for cuts, bruises or blisters. See your health care professional for any problem, no matter how small.

  • Monitor your blood glucose levels using a blood glucose meter. Your daily readings can help you and your health care team make the right treatment choices and keep your blood sugar under control.