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There are several complications that you need to be aware of when you are diabetic. These complications can pose health risks and should be monitored.
Diabetes can cause your blood glucose level to be higher than normal and when this occurs over a long period of time damage can result in your vessels and nerves. This damage can lead to problems in other parts of your body.
Nerve damage in a diabetic can lead to diabetic neuropathy, which is when nerves have a difficult time sending messages to the brain and to other parts of the body. If you are diabetic and have nerve damage you may feel a painful tingling in your feet and legs.
If you cannot feel your feet or legs you may continue to walk on a foot or leg that has an injury and cause further damage. Diabetics need to check their feet and legs for signs of injury or cell damage daily. A professional should check your feet at least once a year.
Signs you should watch out for that may signal nerve damage are:
Numbness in your feet
Sharp pain or a painful tingling feeling in your feet
Sores on your feet
Muscle weakness in your legs
A burning feeling in your feet or legs
In males an inability to achieve an erection could be a sign of nerve damage
Vision Problems that may signal diabetic problems:
The retina is very sensitive to light and helps us to be able to see. In individuals with diabetes damage can weaken the small blood vessels in the retina. This damage is called diabetic retinopathy.
Swelling in the eye results from a leakage of fluid that can cause blurring of vision. If retinopathy worsens it can lead to blindness when the retina breaks away from the back of the eye.
Treatment for retinopathy is laser surgery.
Individuals with diabetes should have their eyes checked twice a year.
Warning signs to be aware of concerning your eyes:
Blurring in your vision that last for more than 2 days
A sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
Black spots, cobwebs or flashing lights in your vision
Redness in the eye area
Pain or pressure in your eye
Kidney Damage in the Diabetic:
The kidneys have blood vessels that can experience damage from high glucose levels in the blood. The damage to kidneys in a diabetic is called diabetic nephropathy. Those who have nephropathy eventually require dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment that eliminates waste from the blood. They may also eventually require a kidney transplant.
The first sign of nephropathy is usually protein in the urine. Your doctor will check your urine at least once a year. There are medications that can protect your kidneys from damage that your doctor will discuss with you.
Heart Disease and the Risk of Stroke:
Diabetics are at risk for heart disease and stroke. Smoking and a history of heart disease or being overweight will increase your risk for heart disease or stroke.
Heart disease can be treated if caught early. Your doctor will test for the early signs of heart disease on a regular basis by checking your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels and by checking your weight.
To prevent complications a diabetic should eat a variety of healthy foods, avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar, maintain a healthy weight for body size and shape, control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, be physically active everyday, quit smoking if you do smoke presently, see your doctor on a regular basis, and be aware of the warning signs of diabetic complications so that you can report them to your doctor.
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