What are the complications of diabetes?
What are the complications of diabetes? – Taking care of yourself when you have diabetes takes effort. You need to control your blood sugar, eat well, stay active, and take your medications. It makes a world of difference, because it can help you avoid major problems throughout your body, even in places you don’t expect. Stick to your treatment plan so you can help delay or prevent them altogether.
Gum disease and tooth decay
Diabetes makes you more likely to get infections inside your mouth, such as gum disease or thrush, a fungal infection that can cause painful white sores. Uncontrolled high blood sugar can also make you more likely to get plaque and cavities. A 2015 study found that people with diabetes lose twice as many teeth as people without the disease.
Be sure to tell your dentist about your condition and continue brushing, flossing, and antiseptic mouthwash. Watch for bleeding gums or other signs of gum disease.
Diabetes can cause glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) and cataracts (opacity of the lens of the eye). It can also damage the retinal blood vessels at the back of the eye, a problem doctors call diabetic retinopathy. All of these conditions can worsen your vision and even lead to blindness.
By the time you notice your vision fading, your eyes may already have serious damage. So see your ophthalmologist regularly.
Many people with diabetes have nerve damage, called neuropathy. It can occur anywhere on the body, but most often affects the arms, legs, hands, and feet. Doctors call this peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms may include a tingling sensation, numbness, tenderness, or pain. Another type, called autonomic neuropathy, can affect urination, sex, digestion, and other bodily functions.
It is less likely if you are not overweight and if you control your blood pressure and blood sugar.
If diabetes damages the nerves in your feet, the numbness can make you less likely to notice an injury or infection. Your condition may also make it difficult for blood to flow to that area. Together, these problems can eventually cause so much damage that your toes or feet need to be amputated.
Quit smoking and exercise to make these problems less likely. Also, check your feet daily, keep them clean and hydrated, and wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
Many of these changes occur due to infections, which are more likely with diabetes. Your skin may feel itchy, it may feel thinner or thicker, or you may notice scaly or discolored patches. Blood circulation and nerve problems caused by diabetes can also affect the skin. Helps maintain a healthy weight and control blood sugar levels.
If you get sores or blisters from an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, creams, or other medications.
Your vagus nerve helps move food through your digestive system. If diabetes damages it, digestion slows down. You may have heartburn, nausea, vomiting, bloating, feel overly full after eating, and lose your appetite. Control your blood sugar level to help prevent the problem. Even more commonly, nerve damage can affect your intestines, causing constipation or diarrhea.
A healthy diet or fiber supplements can help keep you regular.
These occur much more frequently among people with diabetes and also tend to occur at a younger age. A stroke occurs when one of the vessels that sends blood to the brain becomes weak, damaged, or blocked. When brain tissue doesn’t get enough blood, it can be permanently damaged in a matter of minutes.
What can you do to prevent a stroke? Check your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. High numbers can mean higher risk. Exercise, maintain a healthy weight, and most importantly, avoid tobacco smoke.
The wear and tear on blood vessels from diabetes means a lot of extra work for the heart. And people with the disease are more likely to be overweight or have other conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. All of that adds up to a serious possibility of heart disease.
That’s why following a ticker-friendly lifestyle is key: exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting regular cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, and saying no to smoking and secondhand smoke.
Your kidneys are full of tiny blood vessels that filter waste, which then leaves your body when you urinate. High blood sugar overloads these filters. Over time, they can have problems and stop working. The better you control your blood sugar and blood pressure, which also makes kidney disease more likely, the better your chances of keeping your kidneys healthy.
Even if you show symptoms of kidney disease, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar level.
Problems with sex
When diabetes damages nerves and blood vessels, that can cut off blood flow, which can lead to erectile dysfunction in men. Women may have trouble getting aroused, feel discomfort or pain during intercourse, or have less sensation. Tight control of your blood sugar helps, as do lifestyle changes that relieve pressure on your blood vessels, like exercising, losing extra weight, and quitting smoking.
Diabetes makes you more likely to get infections more often and to have complications. People with the disease face increased chances of getting gum disease, respiratory infections, the flu, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and more. Be sure to stay up-to-date on vaccinations, including flu and pneumonia immunizations.
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