Diabetes can cause dizziness, numbness, and tingling of the face and extremities. The hands and feet can also appear cold and numb.
Other symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, a weak urine stream, and sweating.
Diabetes can cause heart damage. It can also cause heart failure.
Heart damage occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently.
Heart failure can be caused by:
- High blood pressure
- Arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries
- Heart attack
- Heart valve disease
Other symptoms of heart failure include:
- Tiredness and weakness
- Pain in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sleepiness
If you have heart failure and your doctor does not diagnose you with a heart problem, you may not be treated for diabetes.
Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves that help you control your muscles. It can cause numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or legs.
Other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Painful tingling or numbness
- Sudden loss of feeling in a limb
- Sensitivity to touch
- Weakness in muscles
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
Peripheral neuropathy can be an early sign of diabetes. In fact, it is the most common complication of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause kidney disease. High blood sugar and high blood pressure can lead to kidney damage.
Other symptoms of kidney disease include:
- Blood in your urine
- Pain in the side
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
If you have kidney disease, your doctor may diagnose you with diabetes without first looking for a reason for your symptoms.
Diabetes can cause eye complications. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing eye diseases, including:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Diabetic macular edema
Other symptoms include:
- Eye pain
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
- Eye discharge
- Eye infections
If you have eye disease, you may need regular eye exams.
Other diabetes-related issues
Other diabetes-related issues include:
- Kidney disease
- Eye problems
- Muscle and nerve damage
- Skin issues
- Weight gain
Diabetes and high blood sugar
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a common complication of diabetes. Symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Feeling very thirsty
- Increased urination
If you have hyperglycemia, your doctor may diagnose you with diabetes.
How to treat diabetes?
The most common treatment for diabetes is to manage the condition and keep blood sugar levels in the normal range.
To lower blood sugar levels, your doctor may prescribe one or more of these drugs:
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
- DPP-4 inhibitors
Your doctor may also prescribe insulin or other medications to help you control your blood sugar.
Your doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes to help control your blood sugar levels, including:
- Eating a healthful diet.
- Being physically active.
- Taking your blood sugar medications regularly.
- If you smoke, quitting.
- Limiting alcohol.
- Drinking extra water.
Your doctor may also suggest changes to your daily routine. These include:
- Taking your medications at the same time each day.
- Keeping a food record and logging everything you eat and drink.
- Exercising more, especially walking.
- Eating small meals more frequently.
- Eating smaller portions more frequently.
- Eating at regular times.
- Eating breakfast.
- Making time for regular medical checkups.
Self-care is an important part of managing diabetes. You can do many things to keep your blood sugar levels under control, including:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
- Limit or avoid alcohol.
- Practice healthy eating habits.
- Reduce stress.
- Take your medications as directed.
- Keep your doctor informed about any changes you make to your diet or exercise routine.
Complications of diabetes
Complications of diabetes can be dangerous. If you do not treat diabetes properly, you may have:
Diabetes. Diabetes can have many serious complications. Diabetes can be deadly. It can cause:
High blood sugar levels can damage the heart. Heart disease can cause heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Heart attack. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is stopped or severely reduced. A heart attack can be fatal. A heart attack may occur suddenly or over a period of days or weeks.
Stroke. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or severely reduced. Strokes are often the result of poor blood flow to the brain.
Heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently. Heart failure can be fatal.
Vision problems. Diabetes can cause eye problems, including:
- Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve. It can lead to vision loss.
- Cataracts. Cataracts occur when proteins clump together in the lens of the eye. Cataracts can cause vision loss.
- Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that causes damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the retina.
- Diabetic macular edema. Diabetic macular edema is a condition that occurs when the retina swells behind the macula. The retina helps you see.
Skin problems. Diabetes can cause skin problems, including:
- Neuropathy. Neuropathy is damage to the nerves in the feet, hands, and legs.
- Kidney problems. Kidney problems can lead to kidney failure.
Depression. Diabetes can cause depression. It can also cause other mental health problems.
Weight gain. Weight gain is a common side effect of diabetes. Weight gain can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
A quick recap
Diabetes is a disease where the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin properly.
The body can’t use the sugar (glucose) from food as fuel. Instead, the body converts the sugar to fat. Some sugar is stored in the body as fat. The rest is used for energy.
Some people with diabetes have high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can lead to serious health complications.
Diabetes can be managed successfully. It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders and check your blood sugar regularly.
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to visit your doctor frequently. You’ll need to keep a food and medication record. Your doctor will also be your ally in keeping your blood sugar under control.
There are many treatments for diabetes. Your doctor will work with you to find a treatment plan that works for you.
You’ll need to take care of yourself. Ask your doctor about ways to stay healthy. Your doctor can also refer you to a nutritionist or other health professional for self-care.
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