Today I received this message (from Julia Hanf) on Diabetes and want to share it with all my readers. 

looking for a diabetes solution

If I Don’t Feel Sick, How Can High Blood Sugars Hurt Me?

I was told about all the problems my diabetes could cause,

but nobody explained why. Had someone explained these

things to me, I might have tried harder to do what I had been told to do.

Complications from diabetes come on over time, and damage

has often started before we realize something is wrong.

The belief that “as long as I feel well I must be well” does not

hold true for the complications of diabetes; they come on quietly.

Cardiovascular System

The heart actually has the largest blood vessels in the body so

why is it damaged? First of all, it is the job of the heart to pump

the thick, sticky blood through all the narrowed vessels in the body.

That is like canoeing in Jell-O compared with canoeing in water.

The heart also has many small vessels that feed and nourish it.

When blood sugars are high, they do not get the circulation they need.

So not only are we asking the heart to work twice as hard, we are

depriving it of nutrition to give it strength.

Cardiovascular Disease is the most common cause of death in people

with diabetes. But there are support and therapy strategies that have

been proven effective.

Nerve Damage and Disease

Amputations and ulcers, especially in the feet, are more frequent in

patients with poorly controlled diabetes. Decreased circulation to

feet and legs leads to damage and loss of nerve function. The nerves

lose their ability to sense pain, pressure, touch, or temperature correctly,

which results in tingling and numbness of the feet and toes (fingers, too).

This condition is called peripheral neuropathy.

Vision Problems

Retinopathy, macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts are the more

common eye disorders related to diabetes.

Eye disease is typically progressive, and there are usually no symptoms

until damage has occurred. You may have 20/20 vision yet one day

have complete vision loss due to a hemorrhage. This is the reason a

yearly eye exam is so important. An eye doctor will be able to see

the changes occurring before vision is at risk. Laser surgery can destroy

the abnormal vessels in the eye and prevent their regrowth.

So What’s The Good News?

Believe it or not, there is some good news. The whole process of

long-term complications started with sticky red blood cells.

The good news is that red blood cells only live two to three months.

That means that in three months of keeping your blood sugar levels

nearer to normal, you have a whole new set of un-sticky red blood cells.

When blood sugar levels come down, the stickiness decreases on

the walls of the arteries and veins, and triglycerides and cholesterol

levels are reduced. So where lanes of traffic were closed, we now

have open roads.

Where damage has been done, we may not be able to repair it,

but with improved control, we can prevent further complications

and slow or stop the progress of any existing ones. Keeping blood

sugars close to normal is the best way to prevent complications.

Unlike genetics, age, or sex, it is the one component we have

some control over.

If you are like me and generally feel healthy, you too may have slipped in your adherence to following good rules of health for diabetics.  If so, take action and get back ‘on the wagon’.  Follow the recommended procedures for living healthy with diabetes.

 

Theresa Newell


Category: Manage Diabetes

About the Author

Theresa was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes Fall 2009.

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