The Risks of Ignoring Diabetes

The Risks of Ignoring Diabetes

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  1. Diabetes is not a disease we can see. This makes it easier to pretend that your diabetes does not exist. This can be very dangerous to your long-term health. When diabetes is left untreated, your elevated blood sugar levels may result in serious complications that are often much worse than the disease itself. Understand the risks of ignoring your diabetes and establish a treatment plan that you can stick with.



    One of the most common and serious side effects of not treating your diabetes is vision loss. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. High blood sugar levels are contributing factors for cataracts, retinopathy and glaucoma, which can lead to blindness if you do not seek care right away. Maintaining blood sugar levels within target ranges and visiting an eye care professional regularly can help prevent up to 90 percent of blindness caused by diabetes.


    Cardiovascular and Nerve Damage

    Your cardiovascular system suffers a significant amount of stress from excessive blood sugar levels. This stress can cause blood vessel damage and potentially lead to cardiovascular disease or stroke. Nearly three-quarters of deaths as a result of diabetes complications are directly related to heart disease and stroke.

    Cardiovascular disease reduces the volume of blood your extremities receive. Over time, the nerves in your body suffer damage due to the lack of blood and nutrient distribution. The resulting nerve damage is a disorder called diabetic neuropathy, which creates a tingling sensation and pain in your hands, legs and feet. Many diabetic amputations are the result of neuropathy. Reports from the Mayo Clinic indicate that over half of the leg and foot amputations not connected to another injury are due to poor diabetes control.

    Nerve damage is not limited to the arms and legs. It can also extend to the genitals and lead to erectile dysfunction. Almost half of the adult men diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have some degree of erectile dysfunction. Nerve damage is the most common cause of erectile dysfunction among diabetics according to studies from the Joslin Diabetes Center.


    Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia

    Vascular damage from high blood sugar levels can extend throughout the body, including the brain. Vascular dementia appears with gradual but consistent declines in cognitive function including focus struggles, memory loss and comprehension difficulties. The onset of vascular dementia can create susceptibilities to Alzheimer’s disease with rapid progression.



    Among the most dangerous side effects of uncontrolled diabetes is diabetic ketoacidosis. High blood sugar levels maintained over a long period creates ketone deposits in your urine. The ketones are created because your body begins burning fat for energy due to the inability to use glucose properly.

    The early signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include a significant increase in urination frequency and incurable thirst. As it progresses untreated, nausea and vomiting, respiratory struggles, confusion and exhaustion set in. The exhaustion is commonly so severe that you are unable to stay awake despite all of your best efforts.

    The final stages of DKA lead to diabetic coma and ultimately death due to electrolyte imbalances and severe dehydration.

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