Complications

Lifestyle changes and medical management keep diabetes under control

Need help finding a Primary Care Provider to help manage your diabetes? Search online or call 740-779-FIND (3463).

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not respond properly to insulin. Insulin moves sugar from the blood to cells that need the sugar for energy.

Diabetes affects every cell, blood vessel and nerve in the body. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes increases your chances of heart attack, stroke and other serious complications. The reason diabetes puts you at risk for heart attack and other diseases is because the sugar in your blood weakens the blood vessels, hardens the arteries, and decreases your blood circulation.

There is not a cure for diabetes yet. But with self-management, education, correct medicines and moderate lifestyle changes, you can live a long, healthy life with diabetes. A large scientific study of people at high risk for diabetes showed that losing weight and increasing physical activity reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent during a 3-year period. Among adults older than 60, the reduction was even greater at 71 percent.

Diabetes complications include:

  • Heart attack: people with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have a heart attack
  • Stroke: people with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have a stroke
  • Kidney failure: diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure
  • Blindness: diabetes is the  leading cause of blindness in people ages 20-74
  • Amputation: more than 60 percent of amputations not from trauma are due to diabetes 
  • Skin problems: up to 1/3 of people with diabetes have skin problems ranging from discoloration to bacterial infections
  • Nerve damage: 60-70 percent of diabetics have some form of nerve damage, from tingling to complete loss of feeling.
  • Hearing loss: twice as many diabetics have hearing loss; people with pre-diabetes are 70 percent more likely to have hearing loss
  • Oral health: increased possibility of having gum disease and cavities
  • Digestive issues: nearly 1/3 of diabetics will have digestive issues; the most common is the inability of the stomach to empty

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