Diabetes is a serious, chronic health condition. There is no known cure for diabetes, yet people living with it may significantly improve their prognoses. This can be achieved by regularly monitoring their blood sugar, losing weight, eating healthful foods, taking their prescribed medications and getting regular exercise.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, then you likely already know how the condition affects your body and what you can do to mitigate its adverse health effects. In this article, we’re going to underscore the importance of taking an active role in managing your diabetes. Living with diabetes can be unpleasant at times, and managing it can be difficult – but the host of medical complications which potentially await the incautious diabetic are far worse!
Heart Attack and Stroke
Did you know that people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease? Furthermore, they are twice as likely to suffer a stroke. Cardiovascular disease alone is the leading cause of death for people living with diabetes. Indeed, it is the leading cause of death among all Americans – roughly 10% of whom have diabetes.
Avoiding a heart attack or stroke is not the only advantage of managing your diabetes. The damage which unchecked diabetes can do to the circulatory system also means that diabetics are 15 times more likely to require amputation of the hands, toes or feet.
Diabetes and high blood pressure (which can result from diabetes) are the two leading causes of kidney failure in America. When the kidneys lose their ability to filter waste from the blood, the symptoms may not be immediately evident. But as acute kidney failure progresses, complications including swelling of the lower extremities, nausea, fatigue and confusion may follow. In the worst cases the sufferer may experience irregular heartbeat, chest pain, seizures or coma. Kidney disease is currently the 10th leading cause of death in America.
All of the steps you can take to manage your diabetes may also decrease your chances of developing kidney disease. It is especially important to keep your blood sugar within the range your doctor has prescribed.
High levels of blood sugar may also damage your nervous system. Approximately one in two people with type 2 diabetes will develop diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), although only around one in five with type 1 diabetes will develop the same condition. DPN can cause loss of sensation in the hands and feet, although an intense burning sensation is also common.
Autonomic neuropathy, which can cause digestive issues, fainting and dizziness, and diabetic amyotrophy which is often accompanied by severe aching in the hip and thighs, are also common among diabetics. While doctors may prescribe anodynes to reduce the painful symptoms of nerve damage, managing your diabetes to prevent their occurrence altogether is far more preferable.
Diabetes can restrict blood flow to the retina, the layer of tissue in your eye which senses light and feeds that information directly to your brain. It is estimated that 1 in 29 Americans aged 40 years or older suffer from diabetic retinopathy, which can cause visual distortion to complete vision loss.
This is not all. Diabetics are also 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma and 60% more likely to have cataracts. Either of these conditions’ symptoms can range from mild discomfort to total blindness.
Fortunately, the outlook for a diabetic’s vision health is not necessarily grim. Actively managing your diabetes coupled with receiving regular eye examinations may reduce your chance of developing diabetes-related blindness by up to 90%.
Diabetes can restrict the flow of blood to the gums, as well as increase the level of sugar in the saliva. Either of these complications can greatly damage the gums, which in turn brings symptoms ranging from bad breath to tooth loss. As with every other potential complication from diabetes, taking an active role in managing your condition may greatly reduce your chance of developing gum disease. Regularly visiting your dentist is crucial to preserving your smile as well!
Managing your diabetes may be difficult at times – especially if you are older, and suffering from numerous other health conditions. One of the greatest advantages of assisted living is receiving the support you need to manage one or more health conditions without fail. It can spell the difference between a minor inconvenience and a life-threatening illness!
If you would like to learn more about how we help our residents live their healthiest lives, no matter their current health conditions, then we welcome you to contact Morgan Lane Village in Tea, South Dakota today!