What complications can arise out of diabetes and how can they be managed?
Owing to the rapid advancements in health, medicine, and technology, diabetes has become largely manageable and individuals living with it are able to enjoy an enhanced quality of life with proper management. However, the cornerstone to the management of any disease is awareness, and education about the various complications that can arise out of diabetes is imperative to the management of the disease. We cover two such complications in this article. Read on!
These complications can include the following:
- Cardiovascular complications
Studies have shown that individuals with diabetes are more predisposed to cardiovascular disease as compared to individuals without diabetes, which leads to a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. It has been demonstrated that management of one’s blood sugar levels plays an integral role in reducing this risk factor, for individuals suffering from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, in order to prevent further damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves as well.
A few ways to reduce one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease as an individual having Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes include:
- Management of cholesterol levels: It is important to take a test to measure one’s cholesterol levels, as it is often observed that individuals with diabetes usually need to take medications to lower these elevated levels, especially if risk factors for cardiovascular disease (being over 40 years of age, high blood pressure, family history, or obesity, among others) exist. Please consult your local healthcare provider for more indications about the required medications as per your individual health assessment.
- Keep blood pressure within healthy ranges: Management of one’s blood pressure is also key to reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Making dietary changes, such as reducing salt and alcohol intake, consuming more fiber, fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular exercise help in maintaining one’s blood pressure levels.
- Quit smoking: Studies have shown that cigarette smoking can double a person’s risk of developing coronary heart disease, and it has also been proven that quitting smoking has the power to cut the risk of developing coronary heart disease in half after just one year of quitting. Medications that can aid quitting smoking include lozenges, nasal spray, and skin patches. Behavioral changes that can aid quitting include in-person support as well as skills training.
- Foot complications
Diabetes can decrease blood flow to the feet and the nerves, which can cause nerve damage to the nerves that carry sensation, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Losing sensation in the feet can lead to further complications such as foot ulcers. In order to prevent such complications from arising or worsening, engaging in regular checks of one’s feet as a diabetic individual is of key importance:
- Self-checks: It is crucial to engage in regular self-checks of one’s feet, and this can be done by careful examination of all parts of the feet including broken skin, blisters, any areas of increased tenderness or warmth, and ulcers. A mirror can be used for this purpose and it can be made part of one’s daily grooming and dressing routine.
- Clinical examinations: During routine medical visits, the practitioner can also check for any signs of changes to the feet such as thin skin, skin breaks, cold feet or symptoms of an athlete’s foot. In individuals with Type 1 diabetes, it is recommended that annual foot exams begin 5 years after diagnosis, while in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, it is advised that these annual foot exams begin at the time of diagnosis.
Our next post will cover two more diabetes-related complications, along with tips on how to manage these complications, so stay tuned!
We at Manzil recognize the importance of effective diabetes management and are passionate about harnessing technology to provide solutions to help individuals with diabetes in managing their disease. We have developed an innovative modality to revolutionize diabetes management with the launch of TypeCare, a cutting edge product that provides a novel approach to managing diabetes with real-time monitoring of blood sugar levels via a digital interface. For more information on the program, do visit www.manzilhealth.ae.