If not managed well, diabetes can be a debilitating disease to your health. Long-term consequences of diabetes include damage to the small and large blood vessels of the vital organs, gums, limbs, and eyes. Nerve damage is also a complication of uncontrolled diabetes. Here are the 7 complications of high blood sugar levels due to poorly controlled diabetes.
1. Reduces Brain Functioning
Several scientific studies have found that people with uncontrolled diabetes have slower mental speeds leading to inability to organize and make decisions without delay. Their learning ability and memory power also decline in the presence of constantly high blood sugar levels. Diabetics who are insulin resistant are more prone to develop Alzheimer’s disease too.1
2. Raises The Risk Of Heart Diseases
The risk cardiovascular diseases skyrockets in diabetic individuals. It has been estimated that the chance of a heart attack or stroke in an uncontrolled diabetic is five times more than a non-diabetic. The risk further rises if you are a diabetic with hypertension, high levels of bad cholesterol and obesity. Smokers who are diabetics are also at a higher risk of life-threatening complications due to poor heart health.2
3. Promotes Loss Of Vision
Diabetes is the major causes of blindness among people aged between 20–75 years of age. High blood sugar levels cause the destruction of the blood vessels of the eyes. Lack of adequate nourishment leads to damage to the retina, macula and eye lens. This is the reason why retinopathy, swelling of the macula or macular edema and cataract are more likely to occur in long-term diabetes. Glaucoma is also common in people suffering from diabetes.
4. Affects Renal Functioning
Prolonged diabetes can lead to decrease in the blood filtration capacity of the kidneys. Failing kidneys causes toxin buildup in the body which can reach poisonous levels. Unfortunately, kidney disease remains asymptomatic until it has become severe. Swelling of the hands, feet and the region around the eyes are characteristic symptoms of kidney disease.
5. Causes Progressive Nerve Damage
Diabetic neuropathy is the progressive nerve damage that occurs in long-term diabetes. When the sensory nerves get damaged, diabetics lose the ability to feel sensations of temperature changes, like hot or cold. and pain. Poor blood and nerve supply in diabetes make it easier for wounds to get infected without healing in time. This is the reason why you should take meticulous care of your hands, feet, legs, and nails by protecting them against any chances of injury.
6. Impairs Thyroid Functioning
Researchers have found that thyroid disorders are more prevalent among them when compared with the normal population. It has been estimated that up to 30% of female type 1 diabetic patients have thyroid disease. Pregnant women with diabetes are 3 times more prone to develop postpartum thyroiditis than non-diabetic expecting women.3
7. Deteriorates Oral Health
Poorly managed diabetes is co-existent with severe gum disease and dental decay. The high sugar content in saliva fosters the growth of pathogenic microorganisms that cause gingivitis and dental cavities. If oral hygiene is not followed properly, gum disease, tooth mobility, and loss will occur eventually.4
Like any chronic condition, living with diabetes can be quite challenging. However, a disciplined approach to one’s diet and lifestyle can prevent the complications above from happening. Keep one’s blood sugar levels under control by eating clean, maintaining a healthy body weight and staying active. Don’t forget to meet your doctor periodically to get your health checkups done so that any complications can be diagnosed at the earliest.
|↑1||Seaquist, Elizabeth R. “The final frontier: how does diabetes affect the brain?.” Diabetes 59, no. 1 (2010): 4-5.|
|↑2||Diabetes – long-term effects. BetterHealthChannel|
|↑3||Wu, Patricia. “Thyroid disease and diabetes.” Clinical diabetes 18, no. 1 (2000): 38.|
|↑4||Diabetes, Gum Disease, & Other Dental Problems. National Institute Of Diabetes And Digestive Kidney Diseases|