Diabetes and its Complications
Diabetic Neuropathy (Nerve Complications)
Having high blood glucose levels for many years can damage the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to nerves. Damaged nerves send signals slowly or at the wrong times and sometimes may stop sending signals.
Warning Signs! Numbness or tingling in the feet, loss of bladder control, indigestion, sexual problems in both males and females, muscle weakness etc.
Diabetic Retinopathy ( Eye Complications)
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to two key changes in your eye.
- Retinopathy : This is when high blood sugar causes damage to the small blood vessels in the back of the eye.
- Cataract: Too much sugar in your lenses can lead to them clouding up.
Warning Signs! Haziness, blurred vision, black spots, double vision, cloudy vision/ curtain like shadow in the eyes.
Diabetic Nephropathy ( Kidney Complications)
Uncontrolled diabetes over time leads to a build-up of sugar in the small blood vessels of your kidney. This makes them work less effectively in filtering out waste substances from the blood. The first sign of kidney complication is the presence of small amount of protein in the urine. As the disease progresses, protein content in the urine continues to increase and the filtration capacity of the kidney decreases.
Warning Signs! A diabetic should have their urine checked regularly for protein at least once every year.
Diabetes increases the risk of heart attacks as high blood sugar makes blood flow slow through the arteries and thereby increasing the risk of clot formation. When blood flow is reduced or stopped, one experiences heart attack or angina (reduced oxygen supply to the heart).
Warning Signs! Chest discomfort (tightness), shortness of breath, pulling sensation in the arms, sweating and fatigue are key indications to look out for. If you experience any of the above call the Emergency (1066) or rush to a nearby hospital.
Diabetic Foot Problem
Diabetes can affect your feet.
- Loss of sensation in the feet
- Burning sensation in the feet
- Slipping of footwear from your feet while walking
- Redness and change in the shape of your foot
- Fungal infection in between the toes of the finger
- Swelling in the joints that are usually painful.
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
- Drink water
- Keep checking your blood sugar
- Meet your consultant if value continues to remain over 300mg/dl
Treatment is very simple and requires you to doing one of the following
- 10-15 gms of glucose, or 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in water or A teaspoon of honey or jam
- After 10-15 minutes of doing the above if you still feel no change then, repeat it again. When the symptoms have gone (meaning your blood glucose levels are above 70mg/dl) you need to follow it up with a starchy snack such as a sandwich/ a small bowl of fruit / a glass of milk.
Reasons for Hypoglycemia
- Exercising more than usual
- Too much of insulin or overdose of oral hypoglycemic drugs
- Drinking alcohol without food
- Missing a meal or being too late for a meal or snack
Do remember to make a note of a hypoglycemic event (date/ cause/ blood glucose reading, pre and post meal in your personal health diary to help discuss with your consultant.