Have you been diagnosed with diabetes and wonder what will happen if you just go about living your life like you always have, not paying attention to what is going on inside your body or, more specifically, your blood stream? Maybe someone you love has received this diagnosis and you’re trying to find ways to help convince him or her to live in a way that helps them have a good life versus one filled with struggles and continuous medical issues?
Whatever reason leads you to read this article, one thing is clear: There are some very negative consequences if diabetes isn’t managed – consequences that could potentially turn deadly.
This isn’t written to scare you and make you afraid of diabetes, but rather to get you to realize that it is extremely important to get a handle on this condition before it gets to a point where there is nothing you can do. If there is one promising thing about diabetes, it is that you do have a lot of say in regard to how bad your condition gets simply by making lifestyle choices that promote health versus ones that aggravate this condition and make it worse.
Before we get into what those choices are, you need to be fully aware of what could potentially happen if you decide to just ignore your condition and act as if it doesn’t exist.
EFFECTS OF DIABETES THAT ISN’T MANAGED
Diabetes isn’t just about blood health; it is about body health. All of your internal systems are intertwined so issues in your blood can easily create problems in other areas of your body, too. That is why diabetics have a tendency to have these types of issues:
- Eyesight problems such as glaucoma and cataracts
- Feet issues like numbness and ulcers
- Itchy and scaly skin infections (both bacterial and fungal)
- Gum disease
While the effects listed above certainly aren’t pleasant, they can get much worse – mainly if changes aren’t made that support healthy blood glucose levels. For instance, eye issues can lead to blindness if not managed properly, and feet issues can lead to amputation.
Diabetes also raises your risk of developing hypertension. What does this mean? You have a higher likelihood of suffering from a heart attack or stroke than someone who does not have diabetes, not to mention that you also have an elevated risk of developing kidney disease.
RELATED CONDITIONS MOST PEOPLE AREN’T AWARE OF
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are also a few lesser-known effects of diabetes that typically aren’t associated with unhealthy blood glucose levels. They include:
- Frozen Shoulder – When your shoulder stiffens up and is hard (and extremely painful) to move.
- Sleep Apnea – A condition characterized by stopping breathing while sleeping which can easily turn fatal if the episode is long enough.
- Hepatitis B – A liver disease that involves chronic infections that can evolve into lifelong struggles.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING PROACTIVE
Does this mean that your diabetes is going to spiral into one of these other conditions and you are doomed to live an existence full of pain and disease? Not necessarily – and, if you make positive changes, not likely.
So, what can you do starting today to help you avoid all of these negative and potentially deadly consequences and live a long and active life? Here are a few suggestions:
- Monitor your blood sugar levels. You cannot deal with a blood sugar issue if you don’t know that there is a problem, so monitor your levels before each meal and prior to going to bed to get readings throughout the day. That way, if you notice that it is getting too high or low, you can deal with it immediately.
- Watch your blood pressure. In addition to monitoring your blood sugar levels, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your blood pressure. Remember that diabetes can lead to hypertension so you’ll want to know if you are headed in that direction, allowing you to take action to stop any issues before it becomes too late.
- Go to the dentist. Diabetes raises your risk of gum disease. Therefore, by attending to your teeth and gums every six months as recommended, you’re likely to either prevent any issues altogether or stop them from progressing if they have already set in.
- Take care of your skin. As skin issues are common in diabetics, you’ll want to take care of yours in a way that promotes health instead of disease. The best way to do this is to avoid hot baths and showers, moisturize your skin regularly and take care of any cuts or abrasions right away so as to avoid infection.
- Give your feet some TLC. Because feet issues are also common with diabetes, you’re going to want to give some extra care to these areas of your body. Check them often so that you notice any differences immediately and, after you wash them, be sure to dry between each of your toes. Always wear foot protection (think socks and/or shoes) and avoid exposing them to extremely hot or cold temperatures.
- Quit smoking. Giving up tobacco not only helps you keep eye-related diabetes issues under control, but it also saves you from numerous other health issues that you risk from breathing air that is loaded with toxins.
- Limit or eliminate alcohol. Alcohol is extremely dangerous for diabetics because of its high sugar content. Not only does this affect your body’s ability to regulate your insulin but, if you drink excessively, you could pass out and not even realize when your blood sugar is at life threatening levels.
- Reduce stress. When your body is filled with tension and anxiety, it has an even harder time regulating your blood glucose so you need to find ways to regularly decompress. Some options may include taking long walks, chatting with friends or even talking to a counselor or therapist for professional help in dealing with the things that are on your mind.
YOU CAN MAKE THIS WORK
As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to keep your diabetes in check and manageable. In fact, there are some notable celebrities and well-known people that have diabetes and have still managed to reach stardom! They include Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler, Poison’s lead singer Bret Michaels (who actually raised money for the American Diabetes Association on The Celebrity Apprentice) and famous actress Halle Berry, just to name a few.
The thing to remember is that diabetes isn’t a death sentence. It is a condition that can be largely managed by making positive and healthy choices like the ones mentioned above. In the end, it’s up to you whether you decide to let diabetes control you, or if you decide to control it.
Hopefully you choose the latter and strive to live a long, natural life that is full of playing with grandchildren in your golden years, taking memorable annual family vacations and being able to enjoy everything you’ve worked hard for. That is what life is about, isn’t it?