Type 2 Diabetes Complications: More Than Just Heart Disease
Having diabetes isn’t a death sentence. In fact, an article published in September 2017 in the journal BMJ suggests that, with proper management and weight loss, you can effectively reverse symptoms of the disease. But on the flip side, poorly managed type 2 diabetes can lead to certain complications that can altogether result in increased medical costs, more stress, and potentially a reduced life expectancy.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you likely know the major complications for which having diabetes may leave you at risk: heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy (or nerve damage), and amputations. But complications associated with poor blood sugar control can affect other parts of the body as well.
"When we talk about diabetes complications, we talk about it from head to toe," says Cathy L. Reeder-McIntosh, RN, MPH, a certified diabetes educator at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. "Even if you don't have perfectly controlled blood sugar, lowering your A1C level — which measures your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months — even a small amount helps reduce your risk of complications."
The A1C test is the most common diagnostic tool for type 2 diabetes, but its function doesn’t end there — for managing diabetes, these test results are crucial, too. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting the A1C test twice per year if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, don’t use insulin, and your blood sugar is within the goal range that you and your doctor have set.
But if you are on insulin or your blood sugar is poorly controlled, the Mayo Clinic recommends you receive the test four times per year. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
To help lower your A1C and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes complications, you can follow tried-and-true diabetes management advice, like adhering to your medication regimen, practicing portion control while eating a diabetes-friendly diet, and exercising regularly.
But even if you’re meeting your blood sugar level for 1 last update 03 Jul 2020 and A1C goals, it’s important to be aware of the potential diabetes complications that may affect you should your situation change. That’s because although taking certain steps to manage diabetes well can potentially lead to reversal, for many people, diabetes remains a progressive disease. Knowing how to spot the signs of all diabetes complications, regardless of their commonality, can be crucial for getting the proper treatment.But even if you’re meeting your blood sugar level and A1C goals, it’s important to be aware of the potential diabetes complications that may affect you should your situation change. That’s because although taking certain steps to manage diabetes well can potentially lead to reversal, for many people, diabetes remains a progressive disease. Knowing how to spot the signs of all diabetes complications, regardless of their commonality, can be crucial for getting the proper treatment.
For one, your age and ethnicity may play a role in your risk for developing these issues, research suggests. According to a study published in September 2016 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, people diagnosed with diabetes in midlife may be more prone to complications such as vision loss and kidney disease compared with people diagnosed with the disease while they are elderly, as middle-age people have more time to develop these problems than those who are diagnosed later in life.
And a review published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research suggested minorities may be at a greater the 1 last update 03 Jul 2020 risk for amputations.And a review published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research suggested minorities may be at a greater risk for amputations.
Whether it’s signs of neuropathy, heart disease, kidney disease, or other issues, like digestive problems, skin infections, or the like, some people won't make changes until they see signs of complications caused by years of high blood sugar, Reeder-McIntosh points out. To keep that from happening, you should be aware of all the potential diabetes complications. Following are nine you may not already know.
Mismanaged Diabetes Is Linked to Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s Disease
oral diabetes medication classes natural cures treatments (👍 vs 1) | oral diabetes medication classes with neuropathyhow to oral diabetes medication classes for "Certainly there is a lot of evidence that high blood sugar affects memory and attention chronically over time," says Katherine Lewis, MD, an assistant professor in the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and medical genetics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Imaging tests of the brains of people with diabetes suggest that diabetes is correlated with brain changes, according to research published in July 2014 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Although doctors don't fully understand the relationship and diabetes’ potential impact on risk of Alzheimer’s disease, controlling blood sugar may help reduce the risk for altered memory and cognition, Dr. Lewis says.
Having Diabetes May Increase Your Risk for Clinical Depression
Managing diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint, and often that journey can bring with it feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and despair — all signs of clinical depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Research supports this idea: A review published in February 2015 in the Community Mental Health Journal, found that people with diabetes are at a for 1 last update 03 Jul 2020 greater risk for the burdensome mental illness when compared with their peers who do not have diabetes.Managing diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint, and often that journey can bring with it feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and despair — all signs of clinical depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Research supports this idea: A review published in February 2015 in the Community Mental Health Journal, found that people with diabetes are at a greater risk for the burdensome mental illness when compared with their peers who do not have diabetes.
Depression can be treated with psychotherapy or antidepressants, or a combination of the two, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. If you experience symptoms such as sadness, irritability, trouble concentrating, a changed sleep pattern, loss of sleep, or a lack of interest in activities and people you once enjoyed, seek help from a mental health professional who can help identify the best treatment plan for you.
Ultimately, diabetes is a physical and mental disease, so tending to your emotional health is key for proper blood sugar management.
Poorly Controlled Blood Sugar Could Lead to Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is more than two times as common in people with type 2 diabetes as it is in people who don’t have the disease, according to a study published in July 2011 in the journal Diabetes Care. Signs of hearing loss include difficulty hearing what people are saying to you, needing to turn up the TV and radio volume, feeling that people around you are always mumbling, and struggling to keep up with conversations in a crowded or noisy room.
Know that hearing loss can occur in just one ear, too. Reeder-McIntosh suggests seeing an audiologist to check your hearing function if you are struggling with any of these tasks. Doing so can potentially help ward off other health issues associated with hearing loss as well.
Gum Disease Is Another Complication of Type 2 Diabetes
oral diabetes medication classes guidelines 2020 (👍 with keto) | oral diabetes medication classes bracelethow to oral diabetes medication classes for An article published in January 2012 in the journal Diabetologia suggested that people with diabetes are at a threefold greater risk for periodontitis, an infection of the gums that surrounds the teeth. "We see that gum disease in diabetes is related to high blood sugar," Lewis says. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes watch for warning signs of gum disease, such as bleeding, sore or swollen gums, and more severe changes in your mouth, such as loosening teeth. To help prevent gum disease, brush and floss your teeth regularly, and visit your dentist every six months.
People With Diabetes May Be More Prone to Skin Infections
"If blood sugar is elevated, any risk of infection goes up," Reeder-McIntosh says. According to the ADA, you might see more skin infections, including styes, boils, infected hair follicles, nail infections, and deeper skin infections called carbuncles.
Symptoms of a skin infection include hard, thickening skin, darker skin that may feel velvety, and yellow, red, or brown patches on your skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
oral diabetes medication classes treatments vinegar (☑ ketone) | oral diabetes medication classes treatments and preventionshow to oral diabetes medication classes for In addition to controlling blood sugar, following the ADA's recommended daily skin care routine can help prevent skin infections that may stem from type 2 diabetes. This includes keeping skin clean and dry, keeping sores and cuts clean and covered, and moisturizing skin.
Diabetes May Up the Risk of Fungal Infections As Well
When it comes to potential infections and diabetes, skin isn’t the only part of the body that is vulnerable — fungal infections elsewhere may arise, too. "Things like to grow in a nice, warm, sugary environment," Reeder-McIntosh explains. This includes fungal infections, such as vaginal yeast infections in women with diabetes, jock itch, ring worm, and athlete's foot, according to the ADA.
Symptoms include itching, red areas surrounded by white scales, and even a yeasty or fungal smell. To treat these infections, see a doctor. You can help avoid them by keeping your skin clean and dry.
Having Diabetes May Lead to Bone Loss and Osteoporosis
People diagnosed with diabetes are 20 percent more likely to experience a hip fracture than their peers who do not have the disease, according to research published in February 2015 in the journal Osteoporosis International. Lewis says that this could be due to high blood sugar levels weakening the bone matrix, thereby increasing the risk for osteoporosis, a disease marked by fragile, brittle bones. Meanwhile, other research suggests some diabetes medication may promote bone loss in this group.
Bone density reduction happens silently, so your best bet for prevention is to control blood sugar, get a bone density screening, and learn how to reduce your risk for falls.
Diabetes Is Linked With a Greater Risk for Gastroparesis From Neuropathy
You likely know that having high blood sugar can lead to neuropathy, affecting the nerves of your feet and legs, but it can also affect your autonomic nerves. These are the nerves that control involuntary bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, bladder function, and digestion.
oral diabetes medication classes symptoms in children (👍 with weight loss) | oral diabetes medication classes blood sugar charthow to oral diabetes medication classes for The symptoms you experience depend on which part of your autonomic nervous system is affected. One potential symptom of autonomic neuropathy is gastroparesis, a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. "People often don't realize that symptoms like nausea, bloating, reflux, and an early feeling of fullness when eating may be related to diabetes nerve damage," Reeder-McIntosh says.
The best way to help avoid this complication is by monitoring and managing blood sugar. Making changes to your for 1 last update 03 Jul 2020 eating habits, such as eating smaller, more frequent meals, may also help you manage gastroparesis.The best way to help avoid this complication is by monitoring and managing blood sugar. Making changes to your eating habits, such as eating smaller, more frequent meals, may also help you manage gastroparesis.
With Diabetes, Men May Suffer From Sexual Issues, Like Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is another possible result of damage to the autonomic nerves. In a study published in May 2015 in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, researchers observed that ED rates increased as A1C numbers also went up in 200 Italian men with type 2 diabetes.
Lewis says that ED, which is characterized by an inability to have an erection, can be treated with medication, but you can help prevent it with good blood sugar control.