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
diabetes, diabetes complications, blood sugar, diabetes management

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