Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes can be a very difficult illness to manage, but it’s important to control your diabetes so you can avoid serious health complications. Unfortunately, even with diligent compliance, complications do occur.
Diabetes means you body has trouble keeping the level of glucose, or sugar in your blood in a healthy range. Often, in an uncontrolled diabetic patient, blood sugar can skyrocket to life-threatening levels. But that’s not the only danger: long-term elevation of blood sugar causes damage to every organ and system in your body.
Because you may not notice symptoms of mildly elevated glucose, it’s crucial to maintain a well-controlled diet and monitor your sugar frequently. Know what circumstances can affect your body’s glucose levels. Taking new medications or having an infection can have an impact on the way your body uses insulin.
Diabetes damages your circulation, starving tiny blood vessels called the microcirculation. As a result, blood flow to the extremities, especially the feet and legs is reduced. Blood flow to the nerves is also diminished, resulting in a loss of feeling called neuropathy. Since these problems occur so slowly, patients often don’t notice until they are advanced. Some of the other organs that sustain the most damage are the kidneys and the eyes. Blindness and kidney failure requiring dialysis are frequent complications in diabetes.
As a result of poor circulation and neuropathy, people with diabetes are especially vulnerable to infections. And once they develop, the compromised circulation is far less capable of fighting off infection. For this reason, it is important for people with diabetes to see their primary care doctor regularly and make sure to see specialists like podiatrists, dentist and ophthalmologists at least one a year. Your medical team can also help you find resources for complying with your medication schedule and diet, weight control and emotional support.
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