Diabetes Complications 

Diabetes increases the risk for many health problems, and if left untreated or improperly managed, it can result in a variety of complications such as nerve disease, cardiovascular disease, eye disease and kidney disease, as well as foot ulcer. However, with correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of complications.

Nerve disease

Diabetic nerve damage is called diabetic neuropathy. Did you know that 60-70% of diabetics have some form of nerve damage? Numbness, tingling, burning sensation, nerve pain and loss of feeling are common signs of diabetic nerve damage. Loss of feeling is particularly dangerous and alarming because it can allow injuries to go unnoticed, leading to serious infections and possible amputations. Having your blood glucose level on target can delay or prevent nerve damage. Besides that, taking Mecobalamin, the active form of vitamin B12, helps to regenerate damaged nerves, promote healthy nerves and protect against degeneration of the nervous system.

Foot ulcers

Diabetics are more likely to have foot ulcers compared to other diabetes-related complications, such as cardiovascular disease, eye disease and kidney disease. This is because a high blood sugar level over time will cause damage to the nerves leading to reduced sensation, which means you may not even know you hurt your feet. Hence, you may be more susceptible to injuries such as minor cuts, bruises or blisters.

Diabetics also have an increased risk of developing narrowing of the arteries leading to reduced blood flow in the lower part of the legs and the feet. Without a good blood supply, the cuts and sores on the feet will not heal well.

Together, these problems make diabetics vulnerable to ulcers and infections that may lead to amputation. Diabetics can lower their amputation risks by taking preventive steps such as annual foot examination, daily foot inspection, proper footwear and immediate management of foot injuries.

Besides nerve damage, diabetics are advised to consult their healthcare practitioners as diabetes can also lead to other related complications affecting different parts of the body:

Heart – Diabetes greatly increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) and high blood pressure. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in people with diabetes. High blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, smoking or high levels of cholesterol will damage blood vessels. Therefore, it is important for people with diabetes to manage these levels by making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active, reducing weight if you are overweight and quitting smoking.

Eye – Diabetic eye damage is called diabetic retinopathy. Consistent high levels of glucose can lead to eye damage. Those with diabetes have higher chance to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma. The effect of retinopathy on vision in people with diabetes varies widely, depending on the stage of the disease. The common symptoms are blurred vision, flashes or sudden vision loss.

Kidney – Kidney disease (nephropathy) is much more common among those with diabetes and high blood pressure. Kidney disease in diabetes develops slowly over many years, most common in people who have had the condition for over 20 years. This disease is caused by damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to deteriorating kidney function, and ultimately, kidney failure.

Proper monitoring along with timely treatment is the key to managing diabetes. Making the recommended diet and lifestyle changes such as maintaining healthy weight, eating right and supplementing with the right nutrients can prevent or delay diabetes-related complications, such as foot ulcers, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage.

1. Canadian Diabetes Association
2. Diabetes UK


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