Diabetes is a silent and treacherous disease, because many times, it may not give any symptoms but, if you do not control it, little by little it can damage different parts of your body and deteriorate your health. Find out how to recognize and avoid the complications associated with this condition.
Diabetes is a condition characterized by elevated blood sugar or glucose levels that, if not controlled, can lead to other health problems in the long term.
Over time, for example, diabetes can cause heart or cardiovascular problems (such as heart attacks, strokes, or peripheral arterial disease), kidney problems (such as kidney failure), nerve damage, skin problems and infections, eye damage (diabetic retinopathy ) , digestive problems (gastroparesis), erectile dysfunction and sexual difficulties in both men and women, and gum problems.
So that you are prevented and can act as soon as possible, here are the main signs of each of these possible problems associated with diabetes.
1. Heart and cardiovascular problems . Includes heart attacks . According to the American Diabetes Association, 65% of diabetics die from cardiovascular disease. That is why it is important that at the visit with your doctor you control your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It’s also vital that you know how to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack , which are often overlooked (this is especially true for women, who also need to pay close attention to their hearts ).
Another cardiovascular risk is that of developing a vascular cerebral attack or apoplexy (known as stroke in English). Typical symptoms include:
- sudden weakness in one part of the body
- numbness on one side of the face, arm, or leg
- Difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes and
If you have 2 or more of these symptoms or someone close to you has them, don’t waste time and call the emergency service as soon as possible, every minute counts.
And in the cardiovascular disease group, peripheral arterial disease is another possibility due to blockage caused by atherosclerosis . Warning symptoms include:
- Pain in one or both legs, especially when walking or exercising, that goes away within a few minutes after resting.
- Tingling, numbness, or cold sensation in the feet.
- Wounds or infections on the feet or legs that are difficult to heal.
2. Kidney problems or kidney failure : The functioning of your kidney can be affected by diabetes. Initially, once a year, your doctor will do a urinalysis with your first morning urine to check for protein (microalbuminuria). One of the symptoms that may indicate that something is wrong with your kidneys is having swollen feet, ankles or legs. In more advanced cases, it is necessary to control the functioning of the kidney with blood tests as well.
3. Nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy : When diabetes causes neuropathy, there may be different symptoms: on the one hand, the sensation of pain may take longer to reach the brain (and in extreme cases never arrive), which is why many people They hurt and don’t realize it. But you could also feel tingling, burning, or pain in parts of your body (for example, your feet or legs) because your nervous system isn’t working properly. Therefore, you must continually monitor that your skin does not become irritated or hurt.
4.Skin problems and infections: In addition to the fact that you can hurt your skin without realizing it, the elevation of blood glucose makes your body the ideal place for the development of fungi and bacteria, at the same time that it weakens the defense system and increases the chances of difficult-to-fight infections appearing. For this reason, as in the case of neuropathy, it is important that you check your skin and your body (especially your feet) daily, that you try to prevent wounds (lesions) and if you find them, that you identify and treat them as soon as possible. possible to prevent them from becoming infected or even, if there is already an infection, it is also treated immediately.
5. Complications in the eyes : Your visual health is something that you should also keep in mind if you have diabetes and, at least once a year, you should visit an ophthalmologist (a doctor specialized in eyes). Many times diabetic retinopathy does not cause symptoms, but if treated early, vision loss can be prevented. If you already had vision problems before you were diagnosed with diabetes, exams with the ophthalmologist should be at least twice a year.
6. Stomach problems or gastroparesis . Gastroparesis refers to a complication that does not allow you to digest food well due to slow emptying of the stomach because the muscles do not work well. This can cause nausea, vomiting, it can interfere with your sugar control and nutrition. Changes in the diet can improve this complication of diabetes that unfortunately cannot be cured.
7. Erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems , even in women . This could happen to you, and although there are some medications that you could use under medical supervision, in these cases what helps the most if you haven’t already is: improve your lifestyle, eat healthy and exercise regularly. And remember: never take pills or use medicines without consulting your doctor to avoid other health complications.
8. Dental problems : As in other parts of the body, when you have diabetes you are more likely to suffer from infections in the mouth as well as develop other problems with the teeth and gums. Regularly monitor your oral health to avoid problems.
Finally, remember that diabetes is a disease directly associated with lifestyle (especially what is called type 2) and it is in your hands to change them. In all cases, not only the diet you eat is important, but also the amount of food you eat, the time of day you eat it, how well you rest, and how much you exercise. Cheer up, because the results are well worth the effort!