You have to know and understand – diabetes is not a death sentence.
It is discouraging to find out you have the condition, as it has no cure. You should remember this though – just because you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, it does not mean it is the end of the road for you. Living with it can be manageable, as long as you practice self-care. However, if it is managed poorly, the chances of you getting other illnesses or dying an early death is higher, as it can negatively impact your well-being and health very seriously.
Here are some of the most significant risks to your health that you can get when you fail to manage diabetes properly.
According to data findings from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), one of the major causes of death is heart disease, specifically in the United States. This is important to note because diabetes tends to also come along with heart disease diagnosis, especially when dealing with Type II diabetes.
The risk factor increases, especially when you consider that high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, inactivity and high cholesterol levels are part of the problems that can happen when you do not take care of yourself. When you leave these factors unchecked, you are increasing the chances of getting heart diseases significantly.
This does not need to happen though, as you can still reduce the problem by engaging in regular exercise, setting various goals for your personal health, and consuming a healthy diet. You can also consider getting medication, though this is an option you need to discuss with your doctor first.
As long as you manage the illness poorly, you can increase your chances of getting a stroke in the future. Keep this fact in mind – a person who has diabetes is almost two times as likely to get a stroke, compared to someone who does not have the condition.
Because you are living with diabetes, it is vital that you know the warning signs of a stroke when they occur. They are feeling numb on one side of the body, challenges in speaking, feeling dizzy, headaches, confusion, and problems with your vision. If you are experiencing any symptom mentioned at any point, it is essential to call your doctor immediately, as it can lead to significant damage to the brain if left untreated.
Among the major priorities to keep is regular exercise as well as a diet that is well-balanced, and making sure you strictly follow your treatment plan to avoid strokes.
Because diabetes brings problems of regulating blood glucose levels, it can result in complications in the kidneys – the chances of this increase significantly when you do not manage the condition properly. When the glucose levels in the blood are too high, the kidneys will struggle to filter the blood, and this makes the body lose essential proteins in the process.
The signs of this problem include nausea, buildup and retention of fluids, trouble when you are trying to concentrate, loss of sleep, and general weakness. However, you need to keep in mind that these signs usually begin to appear when the kidney functioning is almost completely damaged, making the disease very difficult to detect unless you go for regular screening.
If you al=ready have diabetes, it is therefore very important that you go for regular medical checkups to ensure you avoid those problems and treat them as early as possible.
Hypertension/high blood pressure
This stands as among the most common medical issues when you have diabetes – in fact, it affects between 20 and 60 per cent of patients with the condition. When it is not dealt with in time to early enough, it can increase the chances of getting strokes, heart attacks, and kidney disease and vision problems.
If you already have diabetes, it is highly likely you also know your blood pressure levels because they are checked when you make visits to your doctor. Use this knowledge to make a safer life for yourself in terms of your health, by incorporating better lifestyle and diet decisions. This includes reducing your intake of sodium, alcohol, drugs like marijuana addiction, and eating more whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Damage to your eyes
A person who has diabetes has a higher chance of developing problems with their vision, especially cataracts and glaucoma. In addition, diabetes that is managed poorly increases your chances of developing retinopathy. This is a condition that involves damage of the blood vessels in the retina as a result of high blood sugar levels. When this is left untreated, it can cause loss of vision, especially when it becomes more severe.
The good news is that there are treatment methods you can explore, but it remains important that you monitor your blood sugar levels closely, as well as the levels of your blood pressure to reduce your health risks.
Problems in your feet
This may seem very strange and unlikely, but you can experience problems in your feet just because of poorly managed diabetes. These include ulcers and dry skin, and some extreme cases involve amputation.
All of these issues are likely due to damage of the nerves in the feet, also called neuropathy. The condition causes a series of unpleasant senses in the feet, which include stinging, burning and tingling. Another effect is changing the overall shape of your toes and feet, which means you cannot wear your nice shoes anymore for the most part – you will end up needing insoles or specialized shoes.
Neuropathy also brings about a permanent loss in your ability to feel different sensations, such as cold, pain or heat, which means you have a higher risk of developing serious infection or injuries in your feet and toes.
The best way to reduce the chances of this happening is by wearing comfortable shoes and regular exercise – and quit smoking as soon as possible.
All of these conditions may seem like a guarantee when it comes to diabetes, but they do not need to be. As long as you take active steps to take care of your health, you can reduce the chances of these happening.