If you have type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn't produce enough insulin or it doesn't respond to insulin properly. As as result, blood sugar levels in a diabetic have to be properly managed to avoid symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
However, diabetes is about more than just controlling your blood sugar levels. Managing cholesterol and blood pressure are also important in the management of diabetes. If left uncontrolled and untreated, diabetes could potentially lead to life threatening complications.
Type 2 diabetes is commonly ignored due to the fact that during its early stages, the person may not notice any signs of diabetes at all. Even once symptoms appear it can be years before a diagnosis is made - many people are not even aware they are diabetic! Diabetes affects many of the body's major organs, such as the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and heart.
The kidneys filter out your body's waste products. In diabetics, high levels of blood sugar force the kidneys to try to filter large quantities of blood. Over time, the overstressed kidney can lose its filtering abilities, resulting in a build-up of waste in the blood. Eventually the kidney can fail entirely. This is an extremely serious condition that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. Proper management of blood glucose levels and other risk factors will decrease the chance that a diabetic will develop kidney disease.
There is a strong link between diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In addition to the increased risk of heart attacks or strokes, diabetics may experience additional complications due to poor circulation.
The excess sugar in your blood can damage the walls of the small blood vessels that nourish your nerves. This commonly happens in the legs and usually symptoms felt include burning, numbness, pain, and tingling sensations that usually begins at the tips of the fingers or toes and gradually spreads upward. This condition is known as diabetic neuropathy. If left untreated, you could lose sensation in the affected areas.
Although diabetics are at higher risk for blindness, most endure more minor problems such as blurred vision; glaucoma (a build-up of pressure inside the eye); cataracts (when the eye's lens becomes cloudy); and retinopathy (disorders of the retina). Get your eyes thoroughly checked on a regular basis - catching any eye diseases or disorders early will increase the chance for successful treatment.
Diabetics are prone to many types of foot problems. These include:
Skin problems such as fungal infections, itching and bacterial infections are not uncommon. Diabetics are also at higher risk for gum and dental problems, including bad breath. so managing your blood glucose levels is once again important.
So how does diabetes affect you? In so many more ways than simply having to control your diet and blood sugar. The side effects and complications of diabetes can be delayed or avoided entirely through careful control of your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, as well as incorporating a healthy diet and regular exercise.