It is essential that diabetics are aware of the complications that can occur as a result of having diabetes to ensure that the first symptoms of any possible illness are spotted before developing.
Diabetes complications involve the disruption of a variety of bodily systems. The majority of diabetes complications occur due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels, particularly elevated blood sugar over a long period of time.
Controlling blood glucose levels and blood pressure has been proven to reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Kidney disease is known as nephropathy.
Diabetic complications are the name given to when one or more parts of your body become damaged as a result of diabetes. It’s a scary prospect but we can help to prevent the onset of complications.
Cutting straight to the chase, the main long term complications of diabetes include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney damage - known as nephropathy
- Eye damage - called retinopathy
- Nerve damage - known as neuropathy
- Limb amputations
There are steps we can take to prevent, delay or minimise the effect of complications. These steps include:
- Keep your blood sugars under control
- Attend all your diabetic reviews and screenings
- Live a healthy lifestyle
If you’re finding it difficult to control your levels, your doctor will usually be able to put you onto a course to help you get better control.
The Diabetes.co.uk Forum is a great option for picking up on the valuable experience of others with diabetes.
Attending your diabetic reviews and screenings are an essential part of avoiding the effects of complications. The sooner you can spot the evidence of complications, the better position you’ll be in to hold them back. It’s much easier to treat complications in the early stages than it is once they’ve developed.
Living a healthy lifestyle takes in the following:
- Avoid or cut down on smoking and drinking
- Get some physical activity into each day
- Eat a healthy diet
Processed foods, including takeaways, can increase problems for the body and are best replaced with home prepared food where possible.
Complications and poor control
Type 1 diabetes rarely results in retinopathy and nephropathy within the first five years, but kidney damage and eye diseases have been found to be more common amongst those with poor control.
Risks of diabetes complications climb once HbA1c levels exceed 9%, and again increase significantly above 12%. Type 2 diabetes may often result in vascular complications such as heart attacks, stroke and problems with circulation.
By closely controlling blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol, people with diabetes can help lower their risk of diabetes complications. A lifestyle involving a good diet, regular exercise and no smoking can also help to reverse diabetes complication risks.