Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). Over time, high blood sugar levels can affect the body’s organs. Regular screening is necessary for detecting diabetes-related health issues early.
Read with us to learn about diabetes and long-term health concerns.
Causes and risk factors
There are several causes and risk factors for diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune disorder that destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
- being overweight or obese,
- having a family history of the disease,
- being physically inactive, and
- having high blood pressure.
Other risk factors include having a history of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome and being of certain ethnicities, such as African American, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian American.
Diabetes symptoms vary depending on the type of diabetes and the severity of the condition. Common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing cuts or sores
- Unexpected weight loss
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Dry, itchy skin
- Hunger even after eating
- Recurrent infections
Five long-term health concerns
Although diabetes can cause other health issues, there are various approaches to delay or prevent these effects. Long-term diabetes health issues include chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, heart disease, and other problems related to feet, hearing, vision, oral health, and mental health.
Diabetes retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It occurs as a result of damage to the blood vessels in the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. Diabetes retinopathy can occur in both types of diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) and is a leading cause of blindness in adults.
To prevent diabetes retinopathy from getting worse, people with diabetes are recommended to have regular eye exams. If diabetic retinopathy is caught early, treatment can slow or prevent vision loss.
Over time, uncontrolled blood glucose can severely affect your nerves and blood vessels that control your heart. Diabetes also increases LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, the “bad” cholesterol that can block arteries and raise your risk of a heart attack. A stroke can occur when the blood supply to the brain is reduced.
Atherosclerosis can occur in other regions of the body as well. It’s known as peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, in the feet and legs. PAD is usually the first sign that a diabetic patient has cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes nephropathy, also known as diabetic kidney disease, is a complication of diabetes that affects the kidneys. It occurs when the small blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged, causing them to lose their ability to filter waste and excess fluid from the bloodstream.
Diabetes nephropathy is usually discovered through routine urine and blood tests. To prevent diabetes nephropathy from getting worse, people with diabetes are recommended to have regular kidney function tests and to control their blood sugar levels.
Diabetes neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the nerves and is one of the most common complications of diabetes. It occurs as a result of damage to the blood vessels that supply the nerves, caused by high blood sugar levels over time.
Diabetes neuropathy can affect different nerves in the body, including the peripheral nerves that control sensation and movement in the feet, legs, hands, and arms, as well as the autonomic nerves that control functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and bladder function.
If diabetes neuropathy is caught early, treatment can slow or prevent nerve damage.
Oral health conditions
Taking care of your oral health is especially important if you have diabetes. High blood glucose levels can impair white blood cells. These cells are your body’s primary defense against infections in the mouth.
If your blood glucose level is high, it is also high in your saliva. Sugar is a food source for bacteria in plaque, the sticky coating. Some of these bacteria are responsible for gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities. If the teeth are not treated, they may eventually fall out.
Long-term complications of diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle modifications, diabetes medications, and being engaged in your diabetes care.
Is diabetes curable permanently?
A permanent cure for diabetes is not possible, but patients can have their blood sugar level return to the non-diabetes (total remission) or pre-diabetes (partial remission) range. Diabetes treatment and reversal depend on the type of diabetes and the severity of the condition.
As for reversal, type 2 diabetes can sometimes be reversed with weight loss and lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity. This is particularly true if the diabetes is in its early stages and the person has not yet developed any complications.
Here are some steps that may help reverse diabetes:
- Losing weight: Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.
- Eating a healthy diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications.
- Increasing physical activity: Regular physical activity can help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking can damage blood vessels, including those in the kidneys, eyes, and feet, which can increase the risk of complications.
- Managing stress: Stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise, so it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy.
- Medications: Some people with type 2 diabetes may also need to take medication to lower blood sugar levels.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized plan to manage and reverse diabetes.
Why choose Dr. Hemi Soneja?
Dr. Hemi provides the best diabetes treatment in Delhi. She is a highly experienced and qualified physician who specializes in the field of diabetes treatment. She has over 16 years of clinical experience in this field and has received specialized training in diabetes management in the United States.
Dr. Hemi also has a keen interest in obesity management and the treatment of complex cases of diabetes, including the use of insulin pumps. Her dedication to her patients is evident in her commitment to providing comprehensive care for all of her patients.
In addition to diabetes treatment, Dr. Hemi also provides care for associated conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and thyroid disorders. Her patients in Delhi can rest assured that they will receive the highest level of care and treatment for all of their medical needs under Dr. Hemi’s care.