8 complications of uncontrolled diabetes

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Diabetes is a widespread condition that affects the body’s ability to process blood glucose, commonly known as blood sugar.

While managing diabetes can prevent many serious health issues, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a variety of complications over time. These complications can significantly impact quality of life and may lead to life-threatening conditions.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart.

People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or experience a stroke as people without diabetes.

High blood glucose levels increase the risk of fatty deposits developing in blood vessels, eventually blocking them or making them rupture, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)

Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure. High levels of blood sugar make the kidneys work harder to filter out waste, which can damage the organs over time.

This damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Nerve Damage (Neuropathy)

High blood sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.

If left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.

Eye Damage

Diabetes can lead to significant eye problems, including blindness. Conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts are more common in people with uncontrolled diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy, which results from damage to the blood vessels in the retina, is the most common cause of vision impairment and blindness in people with diabetes.

Foot Damage

Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly and require toe, foot, or even leg amputation. Regular foot examinations and good foot hygiene can help prevent foot ulcers and infections.

Skin Conditions

Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections. Common bacterial infections include styes, folliculitis, boils, and infections of nails. Fungal infections include athlete’s foot, ringworm, and yeast infections.

Hearing Impairment

Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes. Diabetes may lead to hearing loss by damaging the small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none are yet proven.

Prevention and Management

Managing diabetes is crucial in preventing these complications. Regular medical check-ups, maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and monitoring blood sugar levels can all help keep diabetes under control.

Medications may also be necessary to manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

In conclusion, while diabetes poses significant health risks, many of the severe complications of uncontrolled diabetes can be prevented or managed with proper care and treatment.

Understanding these risks and taking proactive steps to manage diabetes can lead to a healthier and longer life.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that not all whole grain foods could benefit people with type 2 diabetes, and green tea could help reduce death risk in type 2 diabetes.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and results showing Mediterranean diet could help reduce the diabetes risk by one third.

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