Keep Your Diabetes in Check for Head-to-Toe Health!

Fend off diabetes complications, including vision loss, heart and kidney disease, nerve damage and more.

By
Health Monitor Staff

Controlling your blood sugar isn't just a diabetes-management tool. It also fends off diabetes-related complications, helping you stay totally healthy!

Your Brain

  • How untreated high blood sugar can hurt: It damages blood vessels leading to the brain, making you vulnerable to blockages that can cause strokes.
  • What you can do: Ask your doctor to assess your blood pressure and order a cholesterol profile. If you smoke, quit.
  • Symptoms to watch for and report: Call 911 if you have an unexplained headache, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, confusion, difficulty speaking or vision problems.

Your Eyes

  • How untreated high blood sugar can hurt: It causes blood vessels in the eyes to swell and leak. Over time, this can lead to diabetic retinopathy, which puts your sight at risk.
  • What you can do: Ask your ophthalmologist for an annual retinal exam with pupil dilation.
  • Symptoms to watch for and report: Any change in your sight, such as specks or blurred vision.

Your Heart

  • How untreated high blood sugar can hurt: It causes blood vessels to become stiff, making them susceptible to blockages that can cause heart attacks.
  • What you can do: Ask your doctor to assess your blood pressure and order a cholesterol profile. And if you smoke, quit.
  • Symptoms to watch for and report: Call 911 if you feel chest pain; shortness of breath; pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in the arms or legs; extreme fatigue; fast heart rate.

Your Kidneys

  • How untreated high blood sugar can hurt: It makes it harder for kidneys to filter waste and fluids from your blood. In time, the kidneys can fail, requiring either hemodialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • What you can do: Ask your doctor for a yearly urine test to check for protein.
  • Symptoms to watch for and report: Swelling. More advanced symptoms include poor appetite, upset stomach, weakness and difficulty concentrating.

Your Nerves

  • How untreated high blood sugar can hurt: It can impair the nerves throughout your body, but most commonly affects those in your feet, leading to numbness, ulcers and infection.
  • What you can do: Have your doctor examine your feet, and report any unusual symptoms.
  • Symptoms to watch for and report: Slow-healing foot sores, leg pain. Also, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, feeling faint or weak, trouble urinating, pain and/or numbness.
Published
March 2014