Posted on

The Sum of All Things-Diabetes-related complications in one view


We have come to the end of our series about diabetes-related complications. Even though we did not go into great depth about each and every system, you now know that diabetes can affect EVERY system and organ in the body, and in ways you sometimes would not expect. The best way to avoid these complications of course is to avoid developing diabetes in the first place.{{more}} Those of you who eventually develop Type 2 diabetes have the greatest chance of avoiding this path through losing weight and changing what you eat. Those of you who have Type 1 diabetes are in a different boat and truly may not be able to do anything on your own to avoid the initial diagnosis. But once you have developed diabetes, either Type 1 or 2, the means to avoiding complications is the same: keep your blood sugars controlled, be sure your cholesterol level is controlled, and be sure your blood pressure is at the goal and not higher.

To summarize, here are a few statistics to keep your brain humming and your motivation high:

Upwards of 20%(1 in every 5) of adults with diabetes have some decrease in vision.

Nations of the Caribbean rank among the highest in the world for having amputations (limbs cut off) due to diabetes. The most recent rate in Barbados was 5% of those with diabetes (5 out of every 100 people).

Diabetes raises your chances of dying from severe lung infections such as pneumonia.

Having high blood sugars puts you at overall risk of contracting just about ANY infection.

Having poorly controlled diabetes is one of the top risks for development of heart disease and related sudden death, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputations, neuropathy, miscarriages/fetal death.

Poorly controlled diabetes reduces your life expectancy.

These are all frightening statistics. This week’s column is not meant just to be a scare tactic; this is real life and you need to be aware of what you are inviting into your life if you let your blood sugars wander where they will. Despite these grim numbers, remember that many complications are related to how poorly controlled the blood sugars have been; therefore keeping them under control decreases your chances of having diabetic complications arise. Unlike many other diseases, you truly have some control over what happens in diabetes. We cannot say that about many other diseases, like cancer. So take control, please. Remember, you have some say about how this story ends….

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD [email protected]
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227