Diabetes increases your risk for many serious health problems and many of the treatments for diabetes can result in their own complications. However, given the correct treatment, and making the recommended lifestyle changes, many people who do have diabetes can prevent, or delay, the onset of complications related to diabetes.
Complications of Diabetes
One of the more devastating complications of diabetes is the effect which it has on organs and bodily functions. Although the symptoms and conditions that accompany diabetes can cover a broad spectrum, most are, at least to some extent, treatable and/or manageable.
Probably, the most familiar side effect of diabetes medications is hypoglycemia. Since diabetes can be defined as too much glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia), many treatments for it can push the blood sugar too far in the other direction, causing too low a level of blood glucose (hypoglycemia). This often can be mild and adjustable by a few simple changes in diet or medications. As with many attempts to manage blood sugar, careful monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential to proper management.
Cardiovascular Problems Such as Heart Disease and Stroke
While common in today's world, especially among older portions of society, cardiovascular problems are more likely to be found among those who suffer from diabetes. High glucose levels can, over time, lead to increases of fatty deposits on blood vessels. These deposits can constrict blood flow and potentially lead to atherosclerosis, i.e. clogging or hardening of the blood vessels. This condition increases the odds of heart attack or stroke. Those who suffer from diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as the rest of the population. They also often suffer such problems at a younger age than average.
Fortunately, this is another situation in which the condition can generally be managed to minimize the odds of heart disease or stroke. An appropriate and regular exercise regimen can help keep your cardiovascular system in optimal condition. A heart healthy diet will also go a long way to reduce the odds of atherosclerosis. A good diet also reduces the chances of a stroke. For some, a simple aspirin treatment may be helpful.
Eye and Vision Problems
Diabetes complications can include a variety of eye problems. In fact, one of the common symptoms of diabetes is blurred vision. Excess glucose levels in the blood commonly draws fluid out of tissues, including the lenses of the eye. That makes it more difficult to correctly focus as it should. In addition to the lens, however, there are other areas of the eye that can be affected as well.
The lining of the back of the eye, the retina, may have its functioning impaired with diabetes. Small blood vessels in the eye can be damaged as a side effect of the elevated blood pressure which accompanies diabetes. This harms the retina. It may appear simply as blurry vision, but it can also take the form of rings around lights or dark spots in your field of vision.
Once again, careful monitoring of glucose levels and blood pressure can help minimize risk of eye problems from diabetes. And, as usual, an appropriate diet, lowering cholesterol and following a good exercise routine will keep blood pressure under control.
Effects on the Nervous System
While not a direct effect of the diabetes itself, an aftereffect of chronic high blood pressure may be damage to the nervous system. When blood vessels are impaired they're less efficient at performing their essential function of transporting nutrients. Blood also oxygenates the nerve cells. When deprived of oxygen and nutrition, and when toxins are not carried off properly, their function can become impaired.
Keeping blood pressure under control will help reduce the odds of nervous system problems associated with diabetes.
Effects on the Kidneys
Kidneys have a major function of helping filter the blood to eliminate waste products and remove toxins. Diabetes can impair that function. When compromised, a condition may develop in which protein leaks out of the kidneys and into the urine where it's no longer available to the body for the normal needs of repair and energy. Even worse, perhaps, since the filtering function of the kidneys become less efficient with diabetes, some waste products may return back into the bloodstream rather than being eliminated as they should.
As with so many deleterious effects of diabetes, simply keeping blood glucose level and blood pressure at their proper levels can help reduce the odds of kidney problems. In some instances, of course, special medication (such as an ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or ARB, angiotensin receptor blocker) may be appropriate.
It is possible to reduce the risks of complications of diabetes through proper nutrition and regular exercise. While not a "cure", there are supplements, such as Optimum Dibetics, which can assist with maintaining a healthy state for the diabetic. In all cases, where diabetes is concerned, the best course is to seek professional guidance for diagnosis and the appropriate treatments.