It can be quite difficult to control your diabetes complications, but it will always be worth the effort. Uncontrolled diabetes means high blood sugar levels, even if you take medication to control it.
It is possible to have other problems related to diabetes, such as urinating more often, being very thirsty, feeling very tired during the day, etc.
However, when diabetics understand their risk factors and learn to manage themselves better, they live longer, healthier lives with fewer diabetes complications. Learn how to prevent or delay the health problems that poorly controlled diabetes brings.
Remember, this article is for informational purposes only. We do not provide a diagnosis. In case of suffering from diabetes or other related diseases, you should consult your doctor about your best strategy.
Evolution of Diabetes
The road has been long to reducing the impact of diabetes on people’s daily lives. Thus, the most important diabetes complications have decreased among diabetic adults during the last 20 years.
Heart attacks and strokes, the leading causes of death for diabetics, were reduced.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that scientific advances do all the work to combat more serious heart disease and the other ailments that come with high blood sugar.
Diabetes complications are related
There are many risk factors associated with diabetes complications. Likewise, one complication can exacerbate another and cause a chain reaction.
So, for example, high blood pressure is common among diabetics, but this only makes eye and kidney problems worse.
Diabetes causes HDL (good) cholesterol to drop and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) and LDL (bad) cholesterol to rise. These changes can cause heart disease and stroke.
Furthermore, patients with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease if they smoke.
What to expect if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes?
The most important thing to do if you have diabetes is to keep your glucose level within the target range recommended by your doctor. They are usually marked like this, but it depends on your case:
- Before a meal: between 80 and 130 mg/dL.
- About two hours after starting a meal: less than 180 mg/dL.
The main complications associated with diabetes
- Diabetes carries a double risk of developing heart disease or stroke.
- Eye problems: diabetic retinopathy (disease of blood vessels in the retina), glaucoma (fluid pressure inside the eye), cataracts, and blindness.
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is caused by progressive damage to the kidneys when kidney failure is not treated. The only way to survive this is to have regular dialysis or a kidney transplant. Diabetic adults have a 1 in 3 chance of having CKD. You should ask your doctor for a CKD test to prevent it.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) can cause numbness and pain. Nerve damage in the feet and legs is most common, but it can also affect digestion, blood vessels, and the heart.
- Damage to blood vessels and nerves can lead to serious infections that are very difficult to treat. This infection can sometimes only be stopped by amputation of the infected limb.
- A superficial cut or sore can take time to heal properly due to nerve damage, poor blood flow, and poor blood supply. A skin infection can be fatal
- The tissues and some of your organs can suffer serious and irreversible long-term damage.
Other diabetes complications
- Atherosclerosis: narrowing of the arteries
- Gum disease: Diabetics tend to lose more teeth and, due to high blood sugar levels, it also becomes difficult to control. Diabetes type 2 increases this condition.
- Depression: This risk increases as more health problems related to diabetes arise.
- Preeclampsia: Gestational diabetes causes birth defects and injuries during childbirth. This is diagnosed during pregnancy and should be reviewed in detail as the pregnancy progresses.
- Neuropathy: Numbness and tingling that begins in the fingers or toes and spreads throughout the body. It is due to nerve damage.
- Kidney disease: Dialysis or a kidney transplant can lead to further kidney damage and high blood pressure.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Hearing loss.
- Anxiety and dementia.
Prevention makes a difference with diabetes
In most cases, diabetes complications develop slowly, without any symptoms. So even if you feel fine, you should keep your doctor and dentist appointments.
If you treat this illness in a timely manner, you can prevent or delay the health conditions that this disease predisposes and, consequently, improve your general well-being. On a day-to-day basis, you can control many of these aspects.
Managing diabetes through a healthy lifestyle is the key to counteracting these diabetes complications:
- Maintain a nutritious diet, led by nutrition professional.
- Follow the instructions on when and how to take your medication and insulin.
- Perform at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (30 minutes and two days off).
- The target range for your blood sugar level: A1c test every 2 to 3 months.
- Blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or what your doctor indicates according to your case).
- Control cholesterol levels.
- Quit smoking or don’t try if you’ve never done it before.
- In case you are overweight, you can lose 5% to 7% of your weight to reduce diabetes complications.
- Your primary medical care must be made up of a dentist, podiatrist, ophthalmologist, nutritionist, and general doctor. You should schedule and keep appointments with each other on a regular basis.
- Do all the medical tests they request, even if you think it is not necessary.
- Have a regular sleep schedule.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you control all of these parameters (sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides). When you have questions or problems regarding this medicine, you should talk to your doctor.
How should you control your diabetes?
Poorly controlled diabetes affects your whole body. To effectively control this, try to keep these risk factors in the normal to low range.
Follow a healthy eating plan and plan what you eat. Your diet should contain vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, healthy fats, and little sugar. This type of plan is the Mediterranean diet and the Dash diet and they are rich in nutrition and fiber. It would hardly be a base, your plan should be focused on your individual needs and should be guided by a professional nutritionist.
When you have diabetes, you must maintain control of said disease in every decision: your diet, your exercise routine, your medications, your medical appointments, and the frequency in registering your blood sugar level.
Diabetes affects everyone differently
Even if you follow a healthy lifestyle, you could experience these diabetes complications.
You may feel that you have developed diabetes-related complications despite your best efforts. As a result, you may feel discouraged and frustrated and fall into unhealthy habits.
But it is time to have more discipline than ever. It is during this period that your professional health team can offer you new strategies and goals to guide you in the right direction and correct these diabetes complications in time. Here’s a video about living with diabetes:
Don’t leave your health to chance
You can stop and even reverse the diabetes complications. In time you can do it with small changes in your lifestyle.
To slow the damage of these complications, your treatment should focus on slowing down your symptoms. If you think it’s too late, you can control complications with medication, surgery, or a combination of both.
Keeping blood sugar levels under control, eating right, exercising, losing weight, avoiding smoking, and treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol are the best ways to delay diabetes complications.
Keep reading with us to learn more about the health measures you should implement in your life: