Adjusting to living with diabetes can be difficult. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes Type 2 but you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, you may be tempted to ignore the disease altogether; this isn’t wise. Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves. Over time, a small amount of damage can lead to serious problems. You may not experience symptoms until major damage has been done.
Heart disease is one of the most serious of the diabetes complications people experience. Having diabetes doubles your chance of developing heart disease, and this risk is even greater if you smoke or you’re overweight. Your doctor can help you quit smoking and lose weight, if needed.
Diabetes Type 2 can damage the small vessels in your kidneys, making them less able to filter waste from your blood. Having high blood pressure in addition to diabetes Type 2 can compound the problem. Your doctor will likely screen your urine to check for kidney problems.
One of the more painful of the diabetes complications, diabetic neuropathy causes nerve damage and can lead to tingling or burning pains in the hands and feet. Other people may experience numbness of the feet. Living with diabetes will mean that you’ll have to pay extra attention to your feet. You may not feel sores caused by tight shoes, and those sores can get infected. Some people with diabetes Type 2 eventually have amputations as a result of infected sores (leading to gangrene) they didn’t feel.
Complications of diabetes can also occur in the eyes. Diabetes can weaken your eyes’ small vessels, which can lead to blurred vision or blindness. You’ll need to make frequent visits to the eye doctor to screen for such diabetes complications.
Diabetes can put you at risk for infections of your mouth, including periodontal disease. In this condition, the tissue of the teeth and gums can swell as a result of bacteria. Your dentist can help you learn to avoid complications of diabetes in your mouth.
Unfortunately, living with diabetes means dealing with additional screenings and tests. You’ll have to be vigilant about watching for diabetes complications, and talking to your doctor about any symptoms you’re feeling. Dealing with complications of diabetes as early as possible can help you reduce the impact those complications have on your life.
American Academy of Family Physicians. (2009). Diabetes: Preventing diabetic complications. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/diabetes/ living/356.printerview.html
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Living with diabetes: Complications. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/
Federal Citizen Information Center. (n.d.). Diabetes complications.Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/health/noninsulin-diabetes/compl.htm