It’s not an exaggeration to refer to diabetes as an American epidemic. Over 37 million people are living with the condition, while a staggering 96 million have the disease’s precursor, prediabetes — though over 8 in 10 don’t know it.
Put simply, diabetes impacts how your body converts food to energy. The majority of food you eat is broken down into glucose, a sugar. When your blood sugar increases, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin, enabling your cells to take up the glucose and turn it into energy to fuel your body.
There are two primary types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Your body either fails to produce sufficient insulin (type 1) or your cells become resistant (type 2).
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and often emerges quickly, striking children and adolescents more frequently, whereas type 2 diabetes can take many years to develop and is often linked to being overweight or obese, having a sedentary lifestyle, and other lifestyle factors. Type 2 diabetes is far more common, affecting 90-95% of those with the disease.
You’re also at higher risk for type 2 diabetes if you’ve ever had gestational diabetes, or diabetes that emerges during pregnancy.
There’s a higher chance of suffering serious complications if your diabetes isn’t managed well, which is why it’s critical to be carefully monitored by your doctor if you’re living with the condition. Dr. Gurprit Sekhon offers complete care for patients with diabetes, and she’s invested in partnering with you to keep the condition well-controlled. She offers education about what you can do to prevent diabetes complications and keeps a close eye on your blood sugar.
Severe complications if diabetes is not managed properly
Unfortunately, there are many complications that accompany diabetes, and seven that are particularly concerning are:
1. Diabetes doubles your risk for heart disease and stroke
Diabetes is linked to high cholesterol and hypertension, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, Dr. Sekhon provides treatment for both high cholesterol and hypertension.
2. Eye and vision problems
These include cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy — when the blood vessels of your eyes become damaged and leak into your eye tissue.
3. Kidney disease
Kidney disease can lead to kidney failure. You’ll need either dialysis — a time-consuming and uncomfortable treatment that rids your blood of excess fluids and waste — or a kidney transplant in order to survive.
Neuropathy is nerve damage that causes pain and numbness in the feet or legs. It can also harm your heart, digestive system, blood vessels, and urinary tract.
A frightening snowball effect can occur when neuropathy causes scratches and skin tears that can sometimes go unnoticed — especially if you’re not seeing a doctor often enough — and lead to foot ulcers. These slow-healing wounds put you at risk for infection and even amputation.
6. Negatively impacts your oral health
Unmonitored diabetes weakens your white blood cells. White cells are important infection fighters, so those with uncontrolled diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease and yeast-fueled infections like thrush, which can cause burning in the mouth.
Without a caring provider and friend and family support network, people living with diabetes have 2-3 times the rate of depression as those who don’t. Even worse, just 25-50% of diabetics who are depressed receive a diagnosis and treatment for that condition.
What does well-managed diabetes look like?
In order to reduce your risk of these serious diabetes complications, it’s essential to be in the care of an excellent physician, and Dr. Sekhon and her team are dedicated to doing all they can to control your diabetes so you can feel well and live life fully. Successful diabetes management involves:
- Proper use of insulin (mostly for type 1)
- Oral medication for those with type 2 diabetes
- Nutritional guidance and diet alterations if necessary
- Weight loss program
- Counseling about exercise
- A referral to a therapist if you need to help with diabetes-driven mental health issues
We’re here not only to provide guidance and advanced treatment for your diabetes, but to offer compassion and consistency as you navigate life with diabetes.
Call our office at 850-493-6948 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sekhon, or book one online. We look forward to providing caring and expert treatment for you.