Diabetes continues to be the 7th leading cause of mortality among women aged 18 years and above. Meanwhile, an estimated 14.9 million women live with the chronic disease, likely developing complications within eight to ten years. However, this is about females with diabetes who fail to take extra steps to regulate their sugar levels. Whether you have diabetes or not, this article will be helpful as it allows you to pick vital pointers for your wellbeing. For more information on reducing the risk of complications, see this list below.
- Aggravation of blood pressure and cholesterol levels
According to the Diabetes associations, 8 out of 10 persons develop high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels within five years of the first diagnosis. High blood pressure or hypertension destroys blood vessels as it causes blood channels (arteries, veins) to stiffen at an alarming rate. Due to these vessels’ gradual constriction and stiffening, the body must work harder to pump blood through the whole body.
It is no surprise that aging contributes to the progressive constriction of blood vessels in the body. However, conditions like Type 2 diabetes accelerate the process, increasing cholesterol levels, and hypertension. A combination of these three will automatically increase your risk of developing cardiac conditions leading to stroke. Therefore, it is highly recommended to see your physician specialist regularly to check and control the progression of the disease.
- Diabetic foot problems
Uncontrolled sugar levels can lead to nerve damage in the feet. When this happens, persons with diabetes experience consistent numbness and loss of sensation in the extremities. In a study conducted by D-Foot International, about 80% of people with diabetes experience various degrees of numbness in one or both feet. Out of that number, 25% are estimated to develop one or several foot ulcers.
In a worst-case scenario, the affected foot is amputated to salvage the situation. For this reason, keeping regular appointments with a podiatrist can help you take extra care of your legs, reducing your risks of developing what’s become known as the diabetic foot. Your efforts should include always keeping your feet clean and dry. Always apply petroleum jelly or lotion to your feet and ankles to prevent excessive dryness. Additionally, be deliberate about drying between your toes after bathing or swimming. Do not forget to always check your legs and feet for calluses, blisters, swelling, or any change from the normal.
- Increased risk of retinal damage
Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication among persons with diabetes. In advanced stages, retinal detachment may result, causing even worse conditions such as vision loss. It is estimated that 700,000 people currently have diabetic retinopathy. However, it is even scarier that the annual incidence rate increased from 60,000 in 2017 to 65,000 in 2019.
The figure has remained the same in 2021. Retinal damage is a worrying complication that, unfortunately, people with diabetes must battle with. However, you can reduce your risks by sticking to regular checkups in the year. For instance, two to four appointments with the eye specialist can be productive in a given year. Early detection cuts down the risk of developing retinal detachment by as much as 40%! In other words, your vision is in your hands, literally.