Diabetes can cause a wide range of health complications, affecting almost every part of the body. Most of these diabetic complications are brought on by the long-term effects of high blood sugar, and can be prevented, minimized or at least delayed by proper control of the patient’s blood glucose levels. However, many of these complications can develop and become quite severe before the patient even realizes there is a problem brewing, hence the reason diabetes can be called a “silent killer’ among diseases.
Amputation Due to Diabetes
Perhaps the two most disturbing diabetic complication is deformation and amputation of the feet or lower legs. While this complication is certainly a possibility for the diabetic, it is also perhaps the most easily prevented of diabetes’ many potential complications. Generally founded in a severe case of peripheral neuropathy, poor blood circulation, and neglect on the part of the diabetic patient, such amputations can be almost entirely prevented by simple daily care of the feet and legs, even with the presence of neuropathy and related complications.
Diabetic blindness is another particularly off-putting potential complication that can be prevented with proper care on the part of the patient and regular visits to his/her eye doctor. High blood sugar causes a number of problems with the circulatory system, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy, and eventual blindness if left untreated. However, if the early stages of retinopathy are detected through regular medical checkups, and treated via simple laser surgery, diabetic blindness can often be avoided entirely.
Other Diabetic Complications
Other diabetic complications are not as easy to diagnose or treat, and are best prevented by diligent control of one’s blood glucose levels. However, any diabetic specialist worth the patient’s time will screen regularly for signs of macro and microangiopathy (damage to the blood vessels, both large and small), and related complications like nephropathy (loss of kidney function due to blood vessel damage), peripheral vascular disease (loss of proper circulation in the legs and feet), dermopathy (chronic skin damage and difficulty healing), and coronary artery disease (which can lead to fatal heart problems).
Knowing the signs, symptoms and preventative measures for the most common diabetic complications can be an invaluable aid for the diabetic patient trying to maximize his/her long-term good health. But as with everything related to diabetes, the single most important preventative measure any patient can take is to control their blood sugar levels as well as possible, and to diligently follow a qualified doctor’s recommendations for their lifestyle and dietary choices.
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