Diabetes affects how your body uses glucose, which is an important energy source for the cells that constitute your tissues and muscles. There are several types of diabetes – type I, type II, gestational, etc. – and the causes vary by type. But regardless of the type you have, diabetes can cause excess sugar in the blood, which can lead to serious health conditions. Let’s review seven common complications of Bastrop diabetes.
1. Nerve Damage (Neuropathy)
Diabetes is one of the most common causes of neuropathy in the US. When you have nerve damage, the nerves in your body don’t carry messages from your body to the brain and back as they should, which affects body processes like movement, hearing, feeling, seeing, and more. Common symptoms of neuropathy include pain, burning sensations, numbness, and loss of sensation.
2. Foot Problems
If left untreated, diabetes-related foot problems can become very severe and lead to amputation. These problems are caused by nerve damage, which can inhibit blood circulation to the feet and cause loss of feeling. This can make it more difficult for cuts and sores to heal, increasing your risk of infection.
3. Sexual Problems
Diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels that supply blood to your sexual organs, leading to loss of sensation. High blood sugar levels can also predispose women to UTIs and thrush and cause erectile dysfunction in men due to the limited blood flow to the sexual organs.
4. Heart Attack and Stroke
High blood sugar can damage blood vessels over time. This can affect the functioning of the heart and lead to complications like stroke and heart attacks. Additionally, diabetes can increase your risk of other heart problems like atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, and angina, which is coronary artery disease with chest pain.
5. Kidney Problems
Over time, high blood sugar levels coupled with high blood pressure can inhibit the kidneys’ ability to remove waste and extra fluid from your body. This can lead to kidney disease or diabetic neuropathy.
6. Dental Problems
Excess sugar in your bloodstream could lead to too much sugar in your saliva and promote bacteria growth in your mouth. This could result in damaged gums, enamel, and blood vessels.
7. Eye Problems (Retinopathy)
Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, which is when blood vessels in the eye are damaged. This could cause blindness if not detected and treated early.
How Can You Manage Diabetes?
Many people with diabetes have to go through insulin therapy to manage their symptoms. This may include self-administration of insulin through a special medical pump or daily injections to maintain optimal insulin levels. In some cases, your doctor will prescribe oral medication and teach you how to track your glucose levels to determine when you need medication.
Lifestyle changes are also an effective way of managing blood sugar levels and avoiding complications. Doctors recommend you follow a healthy, nutritious diet, avoid smoking, check your carbohydrate intake, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight.
Diabetes can be debilitating and can lower your quality of life. Fortunately, you can manage your symptoms through the tools and support offered by a skilled physician. Pompeyo Chavez, MD, is one such physician who offers effective ways to control your blood sugar and reduce your risk of complications. Call his Bastrop, Texas office today to learn more about diabetes management.