Diabetes health risks are both long-term and short-term. Short-term risks may include frequent infections. A diabetic has a weakened ability to use white blood cells to fight infection. To make the problem worse, when a patient with diabetes has an infection, it makes blood sugar levels even harder to control.
Diabetic patients will have hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar several times during the disease. This usually results after taking too much insulin, exercising more than usual, missing a meal, or drinking too much alcohol. Hypoglycemia must be understood and recognized. Be prepared to treat it always.
Some common symptoms of hypoglycemia are headaches, dizziness, lack of concentration, trembling hands, and excessive sweating. If your blood sugar gets too low, you could pass out, or have a seizure. This is a serious diabetes health risk and you should know how to help the person having an insulin reaction.
A serious diabetes health risk of Type 2 diabetes is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome. This diabetes health risk happens when the blood sugar levels are dangerously high and can be brought on by stress, injury to the body, stroke, and the use of steroids. The body tries to get rid of the blood sugar by removing it through increased urination. This leads to severe dehydration that can cause seizures, coma, and even death.
One long-term diabetes health risks includes blindness and kidney failure. Diabetes damages the retina and is the leading cause of blindness. Kidney damage from diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the United States.
People with diabetes already are at higher risk of cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. Arteries building up with fatty plaques can cause peripheral vascular disease or decreased circulation in the arms and legs. Diabetes can damage the nerves in the nervous system. This can lead to chronic diarrhea, uncontrollable heart rate, high blood pressure, and paralysis of the stomach.
One of the scariest diabetes health risks is one I watched happen to more than one friend with diabetes. Because of nerve damage, the feet are sensitive and easily damaged by even a minor wound to the feet. Even a small cut from cutting the toenails can lead to huge problems. Because the feet are no longer sensitive because of nerve damage, a diabetic patient may not know they have a problem until it has created an ulcer where the wound is.
This diabetes health risk often leads to amputation. It might start with a toe that was injured and may lead to amputation of first the toe, because of the diabetes it's hard for any wound to heal; it may lead to further amputations. It could start with a toe, but may need more surgeries to remove more toes, the foot, and sometimes lead to removing the leg. A person with diabetes, should always walk with their feet covered, and be careful when taking care of their feet.