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Complications in diabetes and how to avoid them

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Diabetes has multiple long-term complications that develop gradually over a period of time. The longer a person is diabetic and lesser the control he has on his blood sugar, higher is the risk of complications.

Some common complications of diabetes are:

  • Heart diseases: Different types of heart diseases, which include coronary artery disease, stroke, narrowing of arteries, heart attack and stroke are more likely to develop among diabetics than non-diabetic people.
  • Nerve damage or neuropathy: Excess sugar in the blood can cause injuries to the wall of the blood vessels, especially legs. This can lead to tingling sensation, numbness, pain or burning sensation in limbs which may gradually spread upwards. If left untreated, this can lead to loss of sensation in the affected limbs. When nerves of the digestive system are affected, they may cause digestive disorders. It can lead to erectile dysfunction among males too.
  • Nephropathy: Nephropathy or damage to the kidney is another important complication of diabetes. Glomeruli in the kidneys can get damaged due to excess blood sugar. Severe damage to the Kidney can lead to irreversible kidney failure which might even call for the need for a kidney transplant or dialysis.
  • Retinopathy: Diabetes can lead to damage to the blood vessels supplying the retina which can even lead to blindness. Diabetes also predisposes to other vision-related conditions like cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Skin complications: Diabetes can lead to various skin complications if left untreated. Cuts and blisters might develop in the feet due to reduced sensation, which might take very long to heal and can ultimately lead to amputation. Diabetes also predisposes to infections caused by bacteria and fungus.
  • People affected with diabetes are more prone to hearing impairment.
  • Diabetes also increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Symptoms of depression are common among diabetics can also affect the management of diabetes in the long run.

Tips to manage diabetes-related complications include:

  • Manage and monitor your blood sugar regularly. Follow doctors’ prescriptions and take diabetes medication as advised.
  • Maintain healthy body weight. Overweight people are more likely to develop complications as a result of diabetes.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases the chances of infection, heart diseases, nephropathy, neuropathy, and stroke among people suffering from diabetes.
  • Maintain blood pressure and keep cholesterol levels under check. Complications associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol are worsened when coupled with diabetes.
  • Conduct regular eye checkups to screen for the possibility of retinopathy, cataract or other eye disorders
  • Get regular health checkups to ensure that the condition is not affecting the kidneys or nervous system and hence prevent chances of developing complications.
  • Take regular vaccines as and when required. Diabetic people are more prone to be affected by seasonal and other illnesses, hence, taking vaccines can help in preventing untoward illnesses.
  • Diabetes often predisposes to gum problems. Bleeding of gum can be common. Hence maintaining good oral hygiene is important to prevent dental troubles.
  • Take proper care of your feet as any cuts and blisters can take too long to heal and might lead to the spread of infection.
  • Reduce stress. Practice yoga or meditate to keep yourself stress-free.
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