It is important to discuss some of the long term complications that can arise from extended periods of time with high blood sugars. While it may seem inevitable that patients with diabetes will suffer from complications, with effective management of this condition, the probability of these complications arising can be decreased
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the largest leading causes of preventable vision impairment. It occurs due to the small blood vessels in the eye being damaged over time due to high blood sugar levels resulting in haemorrhages or leaks. Tight blood sugar control has been shown to slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy.
It is recommended to visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist once every two years or more frequently if signs of diabetic retinopathy are present.
Diabetic neuropathy is a mixture of different nerve disorders. High blood sugar levels over time can cause nerve damage which can create sensations of pain and numbness in the legs, feet, arms and hands. There are also other types of neuropathy which can affect the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems.
Annual screening for diabetic neuropathy is recommended depending on your length of time with diabetes.
Diabetic Kidney Disease
Diabetic nephropathy is one of the leading causes of diabetic kidney disease and results from high blood sugar levels. It affects the ability for the kidney to filter the body’s waste properly and usually progresses slowly. However, apart from tight blood sugar control, there are ways to manage diabetic kidney disease.
Foot ulceration can occur due to high blood sugar levels, nerve damage and poor circulation. It is important that patients with diabetes regularly check their feet for signs of ulceration and if present, visit a podiatrist.