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Ask the Experts Blog

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Preventing Long-Term Complications from Diabetes
by Jessica Hines | Nov 16, 2018    Share


Man and Woman Hiking on TrailWhen you have diabetes, it’s important to be active in your care by managing your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can cause health complications over time.

Possible complications of diabetes include:

  • Eye problems, including damage to the blood vessels in the eyes (retinopathy), pressure in the eye (glaucoma), and clouding of the eye’s lens (a cataract). Eye problems can eventually lead to irreversible blindness.
  • Tooth and gum problems (periodontal disease), causing loss of teeth and bone
  • Blood vessel (vascular) disease leading to circulation problems, heart attack or stroke, or a need for amputation of a limb
  • Problems with sexual function leading to erectile dysfunction in men and sexual discomfort in women
  • Kidney disease (nephropathy) can eventually lead to kidney failure, which may require dialysis or kidney transplant
  • Nerve problems (neuropathy), causing pain or loss of feeling in your feet and other parts of your body, potentially leading to an amputation of a limb
  • High blood pressure (hypertension), putting strain on your heart and blood vessels
  • Serious infections, possibly leading to loss of toes, feet, or limbs

“Even after getting the disease under control some of these conditions may not get better,” said endocrinologist, Amanda Morris, DO. “That’s why it’s important to lower your sugar levels as soon as possible to prevent these complications from happening in the first place. Once you have complications, you can’t go back.

Is there any way to make life with diabetes easier?

Insulin pump technology delivers precise doses of insulin through a tiny tube located below the skin and replaced every three days. This method allows the user to program a pattern of insulin delivery specific to their needs and eliminates the need for multiple daily injections.

Through continuous glucose monitoring blood sugar values are measured in interstitial fluid, not blood, and sent to a receiver every five minutes. This reduces the number of finger pricks and helps monitor levels in more real time.

New medications exist for treating type 2 diabetes which require patients to take medication less frequently.

“Don’t get frustrated with yourself if you do something wrong one day or your A1C levels are off,” said Dr. Morris. “The more negative you feel about the disease the less you’ll want to take care of yourself.”

Glucose monitoring is the best way to help your care team identify problem areas and develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Providers at Lakeland Diabetes and Endocrinology can sit down with you and look at what your meals are consisting of, potential changes to your exercise routine, and possible medication changes to help tailor your treatment plan. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, click here. 

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