Achieving your best health means learning how to manage diabetes. Doing so can help you delay or avoid health complications down the road. High blood sugar can lead to serious health problems by damaging the way your body functions. Fortunately, these issues can often be avoided or managed when you take steps to manage your blood sugar.
Eye and vision damage
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar, which can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. Although there often aren’t symptoms during the earliest stages of the disease, over time it can lead to blurred vision, floaters and, possibly, permanent vision loss.
Heart disease and stroke
Having diabetes makes it twice as likely you’ll experience heart disease or stroke. What’s more, the longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is you’ll develop one of these conditions. High blood sugar thickens your blood, changes how your blood vessels work and weakens your heart. This can lead to issues such as suffering a heart attack or developing heart failure.
Burning, tingling and numbness – these are all common sensations that may indicate nerve damage. High blood sugar can interfere with the messages your nerves send to different areas of your body resulting in your brain perceiving numbness, pain and burning sensations.
Daily foot inspections are recommended for everyone with diabetes. Diabetes can cause poor circulation and a loss of sensation in the lower extremities. This is dangerous because people no longer sense when something is wrong. For example, blisters or ingrown toenails may become infected. If not treated early, these otherwise minor conditions can become serious, even leading to amputation.
Similar to how diabetes affects the heart, high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels within your kidneys, making them unable to filter waste from your blood effectively. This condition is called diabetic nephropathy and, if blood sugars are not improved, can lead to worsening of kidney function that may lead to the need for dialysis.
Dry, cracked skin
High blood sugar and poor circulation can lead your body to lose fluids at a faster rate resulting in dry, cracked skin. You may also be more prone to bacterial infections; dark, raised patches of skin; and skin tags – which are small pieces of soft, hanging skin.
Mouth and gum issues
Having bad breath may be a sign that you need to have a dental exam to be sure there is not an infection or tooth decay. When you have diabetes, you are at risk for gum swelling, bleeding or tooth decay. Dry mouth is also common with high blood sugars. The lack of saliva from dry mouth means food, sugar, acid and bacteria don’t get washed away as easily.
Avoid health complications from diabetes
Edward-Elmhurst Health’s diabetes education centers are available to help you learn more about the condition and find out what steps you can take to help prevent health complications. Our team will work with you to develop a customized care plan that will help control your blood sugar so you stay healthy today – and tomorrow. To schedule an appointment, call tel:331-221-6440 in Elmhurst or tel:630-527-3213 in Naperville.