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5 Serious Conditions That Diabetes Can Cause

5 Serious Conditions That Diabetes Can Cause

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose), which is vital for providing energy to cells. While managing diabetes can be a part of daily life for many, it's crucial to be aware of the serious health conditions that it can lead to if not properly managed. 

Our experienced team at Summit Primary Care in Colorado describes five serious conditions that diabetes can cause, emphasizing the importance of regular monitoring and management of blood sugar levels.

1. Cardiovascular disease

Diabetes significantly increases your risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, and narrowing of arteries. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart. 

Managing blood sugar levels, alongside other healthful practices like maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise, can help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

2. Kidney damage (nephropathy)

The kidneys filter waste out of the blood through millions of blood vessel clusters. Having diabetes can cause damage to the filtration system, leading to a condition called diabetic nephropathy. Kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease may result from diabetic nephropathy, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant. 

Early detection and management of diabetes can help prevent or delay kidney damage. Controlling blood pressure and avoiding certain medications that can worsen kidney health are also crucial steps for people with diabetes.

3. Eye damage (retinopathy)

Diabetes can lead to significant eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, and most notably, diabetic retinopathy, where high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in adults. Regular eye checkups can help catch and treat these conditions early, significantly reducing the risk of severe vision loss.

4. Nerve damage (neuropathy)

Left untreated, nerve damage can cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. 

High blood sugar levels over time can injure the walls of the blood vessels that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. Diabetic nerve damage can cause burning, numbness, tingling, or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upwards. 

5. Foot damage

Foot nerve damage or inadequate blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Diabetics need to be especially careful of cuts and blisters as they can become serious infections, which may not heal well. Diabetic foot infections may ultimately require toe, foot, or leg amputation.

Diabetic foot care involves managing blood sugar levels, regular foot inspections, and wearing proper footwear to prevent complications.

Manage diabetes to prevent other health conditions

Managing diabetes requires a comprehensive approach that includes regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, adherence to a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and the use of medication as prescribed by health care providers.

It’s important to have regular checkups if you have diabetes for monitoring. To book an appointment, call one of our offices in La Junta, Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo, Colorado, or click here to book online today.

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