Prevention of complications of diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is dangerous for its consequences. Acute complications can lead to the development of coma against the background of intoxication of the body with decay products (ketone bodies, lactic acid). Patients on insulin or taking antihyperglycemic agents are at risk of developing hypoglycemia. In this condition, there is a sharp drop in blood sugar, accompanied by a drop in blood pressure. If a person is not provided with qualified medical assistance in a timely manner, he loses consciousness and falls into a coma.
Later complications develop gradually, over 10-20 years from the onset of the disease. In this case, vital internal organs (liver, kidneys, heart, brain), nervous system and organs of vision suffer. The most common complication is diabetic retinopathy, which is accompanied by damage to the retina and the threat of loss of vision. The second most common is diabetic foot. This is a complication in which non-healing ulcers form in the feet and lower legs, which eventually leads to tissue necrosis.
Prevention of complications in diabetes mellitus includes strict control of blood glucose and blood pressure, careful adherence to the recommended diet, dosed physical activity, and observation by narrow specialists.
How to protect your eyes
Diabetes can damage the tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the retina (retinopathy). The retina is the light-sensitive part of the inner membrane of the eye. People with diabetes are also at increased risk of developing glaucoma, an eye disease caused by excessive pressure in the eye. Retinopathy or glaucoma can lead to blindness.
You can reduce your risk of developing serious vision problems by taking the following precautions:
- Control the level of glucose in the blood;
- Control blood pressure;
- Regularly conduct an eye examination with a dilated pupil at an ophthalmologist (once a year);
If you notice any sudden changes in your vision, such as blurred vision or “flies” in front of your eyes, you should immediately inform your doctor.
Promoting kidney protection
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease than healthy people. The tiny blood vessels in the kidneys that filter the body’s waste products from the blood into the urine can become blocked and leak proteins into the urine and fail to remove toxic compounds. Smoking can also lead to deterioration of blood flow in the kidneys.
An early sign of kidney problems is the presence of protein in the urine. You should perform a urine protein test every year. This test, called a microalbuminuria test, is very important because kidney damage can occur long before you have any symptoms.
Blood tests for serum creatinine levels are also recommended annually. A high creatinine level is a sign of kidney problems that need treatment. You can help protect your kidneys by keeping your blood glucose at or near normal, controlling your blood pressure, and quitting smoking.
Promoting nerve protection
Nerve damage is a common problem in people with diabetes. One type of nerve damage causes symptoms such as numbness or tingling in the hands or feet. Another type of nerve damage is damage to the nerves that help control blood pressure. This second type of nerve damage can cause dizziness when you stand up suddenly or prevent your heart from racing during exercise. Other types of nerve damage include dry skin, bladder and digestive problems, or sexual problems such as impotence. You can help reduce the risk of nerve damage by keeping your diabetes under control. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels, monitoring of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) every 3-6 months, eating healthy food and limiting alcohol consumption as much as possible will help you in this.
How to protect teeth and gums
In the presence of diabetes, the glucose content in saliva may increase. Over time, high levels of glucose in saliva can lead to tooth decay and gum infections.
Visit the dentist at least once every 6 months for a proper examination. Be sure to inform your dentist about the presence of diabetes. Also, see a dentist if you notice redness, bleeding, or pain in your gums for several days. These problems can be an early sign of gum disease. You can help keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing your teeth and tongue with a soft toothbrush after each meal. Also floss after meals.
How to protect your skin and feet
The high level of glucose in the blood caused by diabetes increases the risk of skin infections and infectious complications that develop on the background of the diabetic foot. Foot numbness resulting from nerve damage and poor circulation can also increase the risk of cuts and infections. You can protect your skin by keeping it clean and dry and avoiding hot baths and showers.
Severe circulatory disorders or nerve damage can lead to the need for amputation of a toe, foot, or limb. You can reduce this risk by regularly monitoring your blood glucose levels and taking steps to protect your feet. The presence of the following signs should be monitored:
- Pain or numbness in the foot;
- Swelling of the foot or shin;
- Wounds/ulcers that do not heal for a long time.