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Diabetes complications usually arise when treatment is not done correctly and when sugar levels are not controlled, as excess sugar can damage the entire body, including eyes, kidneys, blood vessels blood, heart and nerves, which may result in hypo or hyperglycemia, kidney changes, eye problems, increased risk of infection and difficulty healing wounds.
However, the complications of diabetes can be easily avoided by carrying out the treatment with medication or insulin recommended by the endocrinologist, controlling blood glucose throughout the day, practicing physical activity on a regular basis and he althy and balanced diet, according to the nutritionist's recommendations.
Some of the main complications related to uncontrolled diabetes are:
Hypoglycemia is an acute complication of diabetes and it can happen when the treatment is not carried out correctly, that is, when the person uses a greater amount of insulin or medication than recommended by the doctor, which it can cause the sugar level to drop considerably, and it can go below 70 mg/dL. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can vary from one person to another, but the most common are nausea, dizziness, tremors and cold sweat. Know how to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Hyperglycemia is a complication of diabetes that can happen when treatment is not carried out, so that the sugar level remains high throughout the day, resulting in symptoms such as blurred and blurry vision, thirst, dry skin and weakness.In case the hyperglycemia is persistent, it is possible to result in some situations:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis: is a condition that occurs as a consequence of insulin deficit, characterized by glucose level above 300 mg/dL and increased amount of circulating ketone bodies, resulting in symptoms such as intense thirst, bad breath, abdominal pain, rapid breathing and mental confusion;
- Nonketotic hyperosmolar syndrome or nonketotic hyperosmolar coma: happens when blood glucose is above 600 mg/dL, being more common in older people, and has the result in deterioration of the central nervous system and severe dehydration.
To prevent these situations, it is important to carry out the treatment as instructed by the doctor and measure glucose levels regularly, several times a day, and it is important to go to the nearest emergency room or hospital when the blood glucose is very high.
3. Diabetic foot
The diabetic foot is one of the most frequent complications of diabetes and is characterized by the appearance of wounds on the skin and lack of sensation in the foot, which happens due to damage to blood vessels and nerves, which can, in very serious cases,, amputation of the affected limb is necessary, as circulation is compromised.
To treat this problem it is necessary to apply dressings at the medical center and it is important to wash and dry the feet daily and apply moisturizing cream, especially on the heels. See more about identifying and treating the diabetic foot.
4. Kidney injuries
Kidney damage, also known as diabetic nephropathy, is a change in the blood vessels of the kidneys that leads to difficulties in blood filtration, which can result in kidney failure and the need to perform hemodialysis, which consists of in a procedure in which the kidney function is replaced by a machine, with filtration.
A sign that indicates the occurrence of nephropathy is the presence of albumin in the urine, and the greater the amount of albumin in the urine, the more severe the state of the nephropathy.
5. Eye problems
Vision changes can also be caused by the excessive amount of sugar circulating in the blood, with an increased risk of:
- Cataracts in which an opacity forms in the lens of the eye, leaving vision blurred;
- Glaucoma which is damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to loss of visual field;
- Macular edema in which there is deposition and accumulation of fluids and proteins in the macula of the eye, which is the central region of the retina, making it thicker and swollen;
- Diabetic retinopathy in which damage to the blood vessels of the retina of the eyes occurs, which can cause permanent blindness. Learn more about diabetic retinopathy.
If the patient feels blurred or blurred vision, he should go to the ophthalmologist and once diabetic retinopathy is detected, its treatment can be done through laser photocoagulation, surgery or intraocular injections.
6. Diabetic neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy which is the progressive degeneration of the nerves, which causes a decrease in sensitivity in some parts of the body, such as the feet, causing the diabetic foot or a burning, cold or tingling sensation in the affected limbs. See how to treat diabetic neuropathy.
7. Heart problems
Uncontrolled diabetes can also favor the development of various inflammatory processes in the body, increasing the risk of heart compromise. Therefore, there is a greater possibility of a person having a heart attack, increased blood pressure or having a stroke.
In addition, there is also a greater risk of peripheral vascular disease, in which the arteries of the legs and feet become blocked or occluded, which leads to narrowing and hardening of the arteries.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop infections because there is always a large amount of sugar circulating in the blood, which favors the proliferation of microorganisms and the development of infection. In addition, large amounts of circulating sugar can directly interfere with immunity.
Thus, in the case of uncontrolled diabetes, there is a greater risk of infections and the development of periodontal diseases, in which there is infection and inflammation of the gums that can lead to tooth loss.
Complications of gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes complications arise during pregnancy and can be:
- Excessive fetal growth that can result in complications in childbirth;
- Development of diabetes in the future;
- Increased risk of miscarriage or of the baby dying shortly afterwards;
- Low blood sugar or other illness in the newborn, because after delivery the baby no longer receives glucose from the mother;
To prevent these complications, it is important to detect the disease early by carrying out several tests of blood and urine sugar levels, and this is done in regular surveillance visits throughout pregnancy.