There are many serious problems and risks for people with diabetes. These risks all go up exponentially if left untreated. Treating diabetes through both medication and proper diet can help eliminate or delay problems associated with diabetes. So if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it’s imperative that you and your doctor keep close monitoring of your health.
Blindness – Even though you are treated, many people who have diabetes will still suffer from some form of eye problems, reduced vision and even blindness. Always let your eye doctor know that you have diabetes. Eye problems are so common in diabetic patients that sometimes the eye doctor is the first one to notice something wrong.
Kidney failure – Due to the fact that diabetes damages small blood vessels, kidney problems and even failure is common among diabetics. Keep your doctor informed if you notice problems or start getting a lot of infections.
Cardiovascular issues – One of the biggest killers of people with diabetes is cardiovascular illness. You can develop coronary artery disease which can lead to a heart attack and/or a stroke. Many people only find out about their diabetes when it’s too late and they’re in the ER due to a heart attack.
Amputation – Due to the fact that diabetes damages small blood vessels, veins and nerves, some people with diabetes have trouble with their lower extremities. Injuries don’t heal as fast, and they develop problems that eventually require amputation. Due to damaged nerves you may not realize you’ve even hurt your foot. Do regular self-exams to be safe.
Pregnancy issues – If you have diabetes during pregnancy you are at greater risk of having a child with organ damage, and the mother is at an extremely high risk of kidney problems and even death without well-managed care.
Avoiding Complications from Diabetes
When you have diabetes, regardless of the type, it’s important to try to manage and keep your blood glucose as close to normal levels as possible to stop these problems. Depending on what type of diabetes you have, diet will have either an enormous effect or enough of an effect to matter.
Follow your doctor’s instruction on testing your blood. This depends on what type of diabetes you have, as well as some other factors. With Type I diabetes, your doctor will likely ask you to test at least three or more times per day – typically after meals, before and after exercise, before bed and sometimes even during the night.
With Type II diabetes, depending on how much insulin you take, you’re usually going to be testing in the morning after fasting, and after meals. Some people with Type II who can manage without insulin don’t have to test as much.
Your doctor will give you a range for which you want your blood sugar levels maintained. Usually and on average, before meals your range should be between 70 and 130, after a meal 180, and after fasting between 90 and 130 (mg/dl). Ask your doctor to help you understand these numbers so that you can keep track better.
Your doctor will also prescribe a specific diet. If you want to manage and control your diabetes to avoid complications, it’s important to take it seriously and follow instructions.