Chronic Complications of Diabetes: If you are reading this article than you are likely someone living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes yourself or you know someone with this lifetime condition. Whichever the case may be, it is important to be well informed when it comes to diabetes. As this health condition becomes more and more common in the world today, people begin to lose the ambition to learn more about it and this can be a deadly mistake.
What are the Chronic Complications of Diabetes:
There are several different types of chronic complications within diabetes today and being aware of them can help you prevent them in your life as well as within the life of those around you. Within this article we are going to briefly cover everything from the simplest of complications to the most severe.
First and most importantly we are going to start with the higher risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. As a diabetic your risk of heart disease rises significantly as well as the following conditions within this category:
- Heart attack
- Blocking of blood vessels that can create foot ulcers, infections, loss of feeling and more
Although there are many different ways to avoid these chronic complications of diabetes, when you are diabetic the key to avoiding these complications lies within maintaining your blood sugar levels. The more consistent your blood sugar levels are the lower your risk becomes in terms of experiencing these complications in particular. Aside from your blood sugar levels, weight plays a major role as a contributing factor to these chronic complications. Research has shown that obesity plays a major role in both cardiovascular diseases as well as blood vessel blockages. By keeping up with your diabetic diet, maintaining regular exercise and utilizing your insulin regime (if you require it) is what can help reduce the risk of these complications.
Other Chronic Complications of Diabetes:
Nerve damage is another very serious chronic complication that is common among those with diabetes and one that simply can’t be ignored. In order for nerve damage to present itself you must have been living with diabetes for a very long time; 20 years or more. This type of nerve damage is referred to as diabetic neuropathy which affects mostly the lower legs and feet. Some of the symptoms you want to be aware of include:
- Tingling of the legs and feet
- Loss of feeling
- Sharp pains
- Possible ulcers and infections
What’s interesting about nerve damage is that it can easily go unnoticed if you are not familiar with the symptoms. As a diabetic, it is extremely important not to ignore the signs and symptoms mentioned above because as they escalate the severity of this complication can reach untreatable levels resulting in amputation. Now, although it is widely advertised that diabetics have issues focused on the lower legs and feet this is not to say that nerve damage can’t occur anywhere in the body and this includes your internal organ systems. Regular physical exams can help you and your doctor detect any signs of nerve damage before they progress.
Whether you have type 1 and type 2 diabetes, consistent and frequent high blood sugar can lead to kidney disease and this can definitely be considered a chronic complication of diabetes. The early stages of kidney disease rarely show symptoms or signs and this is one of the reasons why regular check-ups with your physician can be so important. Doctors will routinely check for kidney disease or signs of possible failure at least once a year in patients who have lived with diabetes for at least 5 years. A urine test is all that is needed to determine the function of your kidneys. Your doctor will test it for a protein called albumin. If the levels of this protein are too high this may encourage your doctor to look further into your kidneys, via a biopsy.
Not to worry, if kidney disease is detected within the earlier stages it can be reversed through proper treatment. A lower protein diet and prescription medications may be all it takes to help reverse this chronic complication. On the other hand in more extreme cases as the kidneys begin to fail dialysis may be required in order to keep you in the best health possible. This chronic complication will rarely escalate to this level because of the early detection skills and tests physicians have at their fingertips today.
On a lighter note, eye problems can become a fairly serious complication but again, one that can be avoided by paying attention to the early warning signs. It is merely the unstable system of a diabetic that increases the risk of eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Cataracts and glaucoma are quite common among a wide variety of age groups and diseases so within this article we are going to focus on diabetic retinopathy; an eye condition solely experienced by diabetics. Changes in the retina will occur after a long period of high blood sugar or even a combination of high blood sugar and high blood pressure. The symptoms of this particular eye condition can include blurred vision, double vision and even loss of vision over time.
As you can now see diabetes is much more than controlling your blood sugar; diabetes is a lifestyle. By controlling your diabetes adequately you can potentially avoid these chronic complications of diabetes.