Complications due to diabetes aren't uncommon. Fortunately, the risk for complications can be minimized. Our bodies are not meant to deal with continued high blood glucose levels. Practicing good self-care and keeping blood sugar under control is the best way to lower the risk for diabetes-related complications.
Diabetics are at significantly higher risk for heart attack or stroke because the disease causes damage to the arteries. It's estimated that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease and more likely to develop it at an earlier age. Keeping cholesterol and blood pressure in normal ranges can also help to lower your risk.
Many factors influence the development of kidney disease, but diabetes increases that risk. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
People with diabetes often experience terribly dry, itchy skin. The natural tendency is to scratch in order to relieve the itch - however, scratching can result in tears in the skin which in turn can give infection a chance to occur. Cuts and wounds heal more slowly in diabetics so any type of wound has the potential to become a serious problem. People with diabetes need to take steps to care for their skin to try to prevent problems before they occur.
Diabetes damages the arteries, which can result in poor circulation. Dry skin, cuts/abrasions, calluses, and ingrown toenails are just some of the more common foot problems. Because we use our feet so much, foot problems can have a serious impact on our quality of life. Taking good care of your feet can help to minimize problems and keep us mobile. Being able to move around is critical to maintain our health and lose weight (or maintain it).
A tingling, burning, or "pins and needles" feeling is often reported in diabetics. The feet are usually one of the first parts of the body affected. Nerve damage, or neuropathy, can result in sharp pains or numbness. The numbness can give rise to a larger problem if a wound goes unnoticed until it becomes infected.
Diabetics are at higher risk for problems like cataracts and, in serious cases, even blindness.
It's important to follow a comprehensive diabetes treatment plan to stay as healthy as possible. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can both help to keep your blood glucose levels within a target range. Your doctor may also prescribe medications or insulin. You can also:
Above all, keep your blood glucose levels within the target range recommended by your doctor. Take medications as prescribed. Stick with a healthy eating plan and exercise routine. Keeping yourself as healthy as possible will help to lower the risk of complications of diabetes.