It used to be said that anyone wanting to know about medicine should study syphilis because of it’s effects on the whole body. Today the same might be said for Type 2 diabetes because it’s complications are numerous and affects every system in your body.
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A few diabetic complications include:
1. Nephropathy: One serious complication of uncontrolled blood sugar levels is called nephropathy. Nephrons are what make up your kidneys. They are composed of tubules that remove waste through clusters of small blood vessels called glomeruli. When blood sugar, or glucose, is too high, the nephrons and glomeruli become scarred and thickened. Blood vessels are gradually destroyed and nephrons begin to leak protein into the urine. As the condition progresses diabetics then tend to experience:
- poor appetite and
- fluid retention
Medications called ACE inhibitors are used to treat both high blood pressure and nephropathy. If the condition becomes too severe, artificial dialysis or kidney transplantation can become necessary. It is not clear why some people with Type 2 diabetes develop nephropathy while others do not, but high blood pressure appears to play a part. Therefore, controlling both blood sugar levels and blood pressure is the way to prevent diabetic nephropathy.
2. Infections: Infection is another potentially serious complication of high blood sugar. High levels of glucose being carried through your body result in high levels of sugar in all your tissues. This sugar provides a growth medium for bacteria.
People with Type 2 diabetes are also susceptible to infections because the condition weakens the immune system, so uncontrolled blood sugar levels is a double whammy.
Some of the most common types of infection in diabetes include those of:
- the urinary bladder
- feet and
Bladder infections can travel up into your kidneys and result in serious kidney damage.
Infections of the feet are dangerous because poor circulation to the feet makes it especially difficult for the white cells, the body’s defensive cells, to reach the site of infection. If foot infections advance as far as the bone, amputation is sometimes the result if antibiotics fail. In the United States, diabetes is the most frequent cause of foot and leg amputations.
Diabetics are also three to five times as likely to die of pneumonia or influenza as non-diabetics.
The complications of uncontrolled diabetes can be serious, but the good news is that control is possible.
- your doctor has a long list of medications available to help in the control of your blood sugar levels and blood pressure
- if you want to reverse Type 2 diabetes and lose weight, you need to develop a healthier relationship with food. What you eat and drink is central to controlling both your weight and blood sugar levels although the makeup of the food you eat is more important to your overall health than it’s direct effect on your weight
- yes, exercise is good for you also. Physical activity is not only good for your blood sugar levels, it is good for your heart. The quality of your sleep is also improved as is your overall energy. Exercise makes you feel better.
Controlling Type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar levels is a lot more than seeing normal numbers on a laboratory slip or glucometer. It’s all about preventing diabetic complications.
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Beverleigh Piepers RN… the Diabetes Detective.
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