Diabetes Diabetes Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. You get diabetes if your body's normal way of controlling blood sugar isn't working right. There are 2 types of... read more is a disease in which your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high.
You get diabetes if your body's normal way of controlling blood sugar isn't working right.
What are complications of diabetes?
Complications are health problems that happen as a result of having a disease. Diabetes damages the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nourishment to your organs. So people with diabetes may have many serious long-term complications.
Complications can include stroke Stroke A stroke is a sudden brain problem that happens when a blood vessel in your brain either gets blocked or breaks open and bleeds. Part of your brain stops getting blood. Brain tissue that doesn't... read more , blindness, heart attack Heart Attack A heart attack is when blood flow to part of your heart is suddenly blocked and some of your heart muscle dies. Doctors use the term myocardial infarction to refer to a heart attack. Myocardium... read more , kidney failure Acute Kidney Failure Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that produce urine. They’re about the size of your fist and are in the back of your abdomen, near your spine. Kidneys balance your body’s water and mineral... read more , skin sores, and numbness in your feet
Complications may start within months or take years to start—most get worse over time
You can lower your chance of diabetes complications by controlling your blood sugar carefully
What causes diabetes complications?
People with diabetes have complications because not enough blood flows to certain parts of their body. Diabetes causes blood vessels to get more narrow over time. Blood can’t flow easily through narrowed blood vessels or reach certain areas.
Blood vessels narrow because:
Sugar-based substances build up in the walls of small blood vessels, making them thicken and leak
Clumps of fat build up in larger blood vessels, blocking the flow of blood (atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis In people with atherosclerosis, patchy deposits of fatty material (atheromas or atherosclerotic plaques) develop in the walls of medium-sized and large arteries, leading to reduced or blocked... read more )
What types of complications happen with diabetes?
Narrowed blood vessels and poor circulation of your blood can cause problems all over your body. The complications depend on which organ is affected. You may have one complication or many:
Eyes: Decreased vision and sometimes blindness
Nerves: Tingling, burning pain, or numbness in you legs and feet
Skin: Skin sores (ulcers), infections, or slow healing wounds, particularly on your feet
Poor blood circulation to the legs can cause you to need an amputation of your foot or part of your leg.
How do doctors prevent complications from diabetes?
Help you keep your blood sugar under control
Check you frequently for the first sign of complications
Have you do things to prevent complications
How do I keep my blood sugar under control?
Check your blood sugar Why should I check my own blood sugar? Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. You get diabetes if your body's normal way of controlling blood sugar isn't working right. There are 2 types of... read more at home as often as your doctor says
Contact your doctor if your blood sugar is running too high or low
How do doctors check for complications of diabetes?
They will do tests about once a year to check for complications, including:
Foot exam to test for loss of sensation and look for signs of poor circulation, such as sores that aren't healing well
Eye exam by an eye doctor
Urine and blood tests of kidney function
How can I prevent complications of diabetes?
You can prevent or delay complications by:
Getting treated for problems such as high blood pressure High Blood Pressure Each heart beat pushes blood through your arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your body. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries. Without... read more or high cholesterol High Cholesterol Cholesterol is a type of fat. Fats are also called lipids. Your body uses cholesterol to build important parts of cells and to make certain digestive juices. Your body needs cholesterol. But... read more
Getting regular dental cleanings and checkups
Taking good care of your feet—wear shoes that fit well, use moisturizer, and check for injuries every day
Strictly controlling your blood sugar lowers the chance of diabetes complications. But your blood sugar level may drop too low. Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia "Hypo" means low. "Glycemia" has to do with the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood (blood sugar). So, hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar drops too low. Blood sugar is your body's main... read more . Blood sugar is your body's main source of fuel, so low blood sugar can cause serious problems:
Hunger, sweating, shakiness, weakness, and trouble thinking clearly
Passing out if your blood sugar goes too low
Sometimes, brain damage if the hypoglycemia isn't treated quickly
Hypoglycemia is a medical emergency and needs treatment right away. To treat hypoglycemia:
Eat or drink something with sugar (like juice or candy) right away to raise your blood sugar level
If you often have low blood sugar, doctors may need to make changes in your medicines
In more serious cases, doctors may need to inject either glucose into your vein or a medicine called glucagon into your muscle