Diabetes Complications

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Diabetes Complications

by Valerie on September 27, 2010

It’s important to diagnose and treat diabetes as early as possible.  People who suffer from the disease without treatment are at a higher risk of developing complications that can damage the heart, kidneys, blood vessels eyes and nerves. Only through careful treatment and monitoring of diabetes can you lower your risk of complications.

As of right now, medical science can’t accurately predict which diabetics are more likely to suffer complications, but many people with diabetes don’t even know they have the disease. Many times a complication can be the first sign that leads to a diagnosis of diabetes.

Diabetes and the Eyes

Blurred vision is often associated with diabetes.  Because glucose levels in the body fluctuate they can alter the balance of fluids in the eyes.  When there is an overabundance of fluid in the eye it will cause vision to distort.  Diabetes is also known to affect the optic nerves. Cataracts and glaucoma occur in diabetics more often than in the general population. Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens of the eye while glaucoma is a condition that results in pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve that transmits signals to the brain. By maintaining stable glucose levels in getting annual examinations you can reduce your chances of severe eye damage.

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication among diabetics. The light sensing tissues of the eye are damaged when the tiny vessels that supply the retina with blood begin to swell and leak. There are effective treatments to prevent the progress of the disease and sometimes restore some eyesight. High blood pressure and smoking are believed to contribute to this disease. Your best defense against diabetic retinopathy is to have an annual eye exam.

Skin Infections

Diabetics are more likely than the general population to develop infections like boils and ulcers. People with diabetes are also susceptible to oral infections like gum disease.  It’s vitally important to make regular visits to a dentist so that any infections can be treated as early as possible.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a disease of the nerds that can be extremely painful. High blood sugar levels and a decrease in blood flow caused injury to the nerves.   About 50% of diabetics will eventually develop some sort of nerve damage. By tightly monitoring your blood glucose levels and maintaining a diabetic diet you can reduce your risk of developing nerve disease.

Foot and Leg Problems

As diabetes progresses is it can cause a lack of sensitivity in the extremities.  Minor infections in the legs or feet which would normally be detected can go unchecked and develop into serious infections.  If you are diabetic you need to pay attention to your skin on your feet and legs. Any injury to the foot or leg should be treated seriously.

Heart Disease

Having diabetes doubles your chances of developing heart disease.  Heart disease is the most common life threatening disorder that is linked to diabetes.  Because diabetes affects the circulation the heart is prone to developing deposits of fat and cholesterol in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Because diabetics are considered to be at risk for heart disease it is very important to look at other factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases. Smoking, obesity and high blood pressure on their own can lead to a heart attack.  When coupled with diabetes the chance of heart disease becomes unacceptably high.

Kidney Disease and Diabetes

If you’re diabetic you need to watch out for kidney diseases. Although the majority of people with diabetes do not develop problems with the kidneys, they are critical to your body’s health as they filter your blood. By following your doctor’s instructions and eating right you can avoid a whole host of kidney related complications.

Diabetes and the Elderly

Two major symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination and extreme thirst.  When most people experience the symptoms they’re likely to seek medical attention.  The elderly tend to accept these conditions as a normal part of getting older and so they’re likely to ignore these very serious symptoms. If you care for an elderly person be sure not to ignore these signs.

For more elder care safety advice please visit ElderKind.com.

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