Preventing further complications related to diabetes
If diabetes is not controlled effectively it can increase your chances of serious illnesses, including heart disease and strokes, with diabetics being five times more likely to suffer a stroke than people without the condition. Uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to eye problems, foot ulcers and nerve damage.
The only way to prevent complications is to ensure that you control your diabetes and follow the advice relating to taking medication, eating healthily and exercising given to you by your care team. By following their advice your blood sugar levels will be controlled and you can go about living a normal life.
As a diabetic it is advisable to attend regular medical appointments, which will allow doctors to keep track of your blood pressure and watch over your blood glucose levels. If the treatment is not working they can adjust it to make it more effective and your symptoms should ease.
If at any point you are struggling to control your blood sugar levels, you should arrange to see your doctor and they will be able to help you.
The best way to prevent problems is to follow the advice of your care team, which may include:
- Attending regular appointments with members of your care team
- Seeing your doctor on a frequent basis to check blood pressure and check how well your treatment is working
- Eating a healthy diet and sticking to a diet plan that is suitable for diabetics
- Exercising - aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, but make sure you ask about eating alongside exercise; your care team will be able to help you with this
- Adopt healthy lifestyle choices - cut down on drinking and give up smoking if these are applicable
- See a podiatrist on a standard basis
- Attend regular dental check-ups
- Take advantage of free retinopathy screening appointments
- See your doctor if you develop symptoms or you struggle to manage your blood sugar levels
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term which is used to describe strokes, heart attacks, heart disease and other complications affecting the heart or vascular system. It is estimated that diabetics are fives time more likely to develop cardiovascular problems than non-diabetics and the reason for this is that poorly controlled blood sugar levels can cause harm to the walls of the arteries.
Damage to the arteries increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which is a state that happens as a consequence of fatty deposits building up in the arteries; this affects the flow of blood around the body. People with type 2 diabetes are also likely to have low levels of LDL cholesterol (sometimes known as ‘good cholesterol’) and elevated levels of triglycerides, which are both associated with an amplified risk of cardiovascular disease.
In order to lessen your risk of developing CVD, you can eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, limit salt intake, cut out fatty foods, smoking and drinking, keep your blood pressure under control and lose weight (if this is applicable).
Diabetes is associated with a higher risk of kidney disease (nepropathy). It tends to develop very slowly and usually affects people who have had diabetes for at least 20 years. Diabetics are more likely to suffer from kidney disease as a result of damage to the blood vessels, as they prevent the kidneys from working normally. You need to keep your blood glucose levels under control and get your blood pressure tested on a customary basis to diminish the hazard of kidney disease.
Nerve damage (neuropathy)
Nerve damage is commonly associated with diabetes. It is not fully understood why, but it is known that high levels of blood glucose can cause difficulties with the nerves transmitting signals. Neuropathy can affect various parts of the body, including:
- The skin
- The muscles
- The blood vessels
- The bladder
- The penis
- The stomach