Living with diabetes presents a unique set of challenges, and understanding how to manage its common complications is essential for maintaining optimal health. From monitoring blood sugar levels to adopting lifestyle changes, proactive management can significantly reduce the risk and impact of complications associated with diabetes.
Kidney damage, eye damage, wounds that are not healing, cardiovascular diseases, and even diabetic ketoacidosis are just some of the
many complications that may arise when diabetes remains uncontrolled over a long period. In this case, hyperglycemia remains untreated.
But the good news is, you can totally prevent the occurrence of all these life-threatening complications by simply;
Controlling your blood sugar levels by regular monitoring. Strictly following the diabetic diet. Keeping physically active.
Let’s talk about these complications in detail;
Kidney damage that is caused by diabetes is otherwise known as diabetic nephropathy. Diabetes has been shown to cause most cases of kidney failure. The role of the kidneys is to filter and remove all the wastes and fluids from the body.
Basically, the kidneys work day in and day out to make sure all unwanted substances are flushed out.
What happens when you have very high blood sugar levels, and you don’t find ways to bring it back to normal, it damages the glomeruli which are the tiny blood vessels in the kidney and this reduces the kidney function over time.
More often than not, the signs and symptoms of kidney damage may come in quite late, but then you may start to develop;
Confusion, Swelling on the legs or arms what we otherwise refer to as oedema, Nausea, vomiting, Very high blood pressure could indicate a problem with your kidneys.
When the kidneys are damaged, you may go to a state where you have no urine output completely, or it may reduce so much.
It’s important to;
- Maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy weight helps a big deal in helping control diabetes, hence preventing kidney damage.
- Keep a routine of checking your blood sugar levels to make sure you maintain them at a normal range.
- Check your blood pressure often because uncontrolled high blood pressure is also a risk factor for kidney damage.
- Follow strictly the diabetes-modified diet that encourages more intake of non-starchy vegetables, healthy sources of proteins, complex
- carbohydrates, and healthy sources of unsaturated fats.
There are other causes of kidney damage, even in people who don’t have diabetes, this means that as soon as you feel pain, reduced urine
output, or a state of no urine production, it will be wise to get medical attention.
10% of the management of diabetes focuses on foot care because, an individual with hyperglycemia that remains uncontrolled for a long time is bound to develop neuropathy, which basically means that the nerves get damaged and can therefore mean that the individual may not be able to feel for blisters, sores, and cuts, especially on the feet.
This can lead to the development of wounds on the feet. With high blood sugar levels, there is always poor blood circulation, this then only means that wounds would take too long to heal.
In addition to that, the high blood sugar environment gives bacteria a very good environment to grow and multiply hence wounds and infections may take too long to heal, and in other extreme circumstances, there may be a need for amputation to save the rest of the foot or body from further infection.
It’s important to;
- Wash your feet every day, especially before bedtime.
- Check your feet often for cuts and sores.
- Don’t treat wounds at home, always go to a trained practitioner.
- Wear well-fitting shoes at all times, with socks that are not too tight to avoid putting too much pressure on the feet.
- Be careful when trimming nails, don’t use a razor but a nail cutter it’s much easier to cut yourself with a razor than when using a nail cutter.
- Dry your feet so well, especially between your toes.
Usually, the first source of energy for our bodies is glucose, which we get from carbohydrates.
Digestion of glucose starts all the way from the mouth with the help of digestive enzymes, leading to the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
After that, there’s a need to get this glucose from the bloodstream into the body cells and muscles this is with the help of the hormone insulin that is produced by the pancreas.
However, when you have diabetes, especially in Type 1 diabetes where the body does not produce any insulin at all, this means the glucose will not get into the body cells and muscles then your body is pushed to start burning fats, to provide energy for the body.
The breakdown of fats leads to a buildup of ketones, which are otherwise called blood acids, meaning they are acidic in nature.
When these ketones become too many, they may spill over into the urine. This is one of the most common signs of Type 1 diabetes and is evidenced by;
Nausea and vomiting. Abdominal pain. Polyuria, is excessive urination.Polydipsia, which is excessive thirst.
And it’s actually life-threatening for that matter.
Important is to;
- Avoid insulin withdrawal without proper guidance.
- Get Frequent blood tests to rule out any abnormalities.
- Keep your blood sugar levels in check at most times.
- Follow a modified diabetic diet to help control the blood glucose level.
With very high blood sugar levels that remain uncontrolled, cardiovascular diseases start to creep in, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, when blood cannot get into your brain.
High blood sugar can lead to the hardening of arteries leading to the build-up of plaques inside the blood vessels.
This may decrease blood flow to the heart causing heart attacks, or hypertension, or blood flow to the brain may reduce causing stroke, or brain death.
Being overweight and obese can also lead to cardiovascular disease as this only means the excess fat stored can also find room in between blood vessels, forming plaques in the same way.
This calls for a change of lifestyle to prevent all these diabetes-related complications.
Regularly check your blood sugar to make sure it stays within the normal range.
Exercise and always keep fit