By Everyday Health Editors
You probably fear the dangerous and even life-threatening complications of type 2 diabetes — but by being vigilant with your blood-sugar control you can prevent them.
Your type 2 diabetes puts you at an increased risk of a range of serious health problems, including heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, vision loss, dental problems, and foot problems. By keeping your diabetes in check — most importantly, keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level through diet, exercise, and medication — you can prevent many of these serious complications. You can also help avoid these dangers by learning to recognize a problem and what to do about it if it develops.
The most common complications of type 2 diabetes include:
Heart disease is the top cause of death in people with diabetes. Heart attack symptoms may appear suddenly or be subtle, with only mild pain and discomfort. If you experience the heart attack warning signs, call 911 immediately.
As with a heart attack, immediate treatment can be the difference between life and death. Call 911 immediately if you experience any of the stroke warning signs.
Nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy, due to uncontrolled high blood sugar is another potential consequence for those with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can also make it more difficult for your body to fight infections, causing skin problems.
Type 2 diabetes increases your risk of kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy, a condition in which the blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged to the point that they cannot filter out waste properly. If left untreated, dialysis (a treatment to filter out waste products from the blood) or even a kidney transplant may be necessary.
Eye problems. People with type 2 diabetes are at risk of several eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy (which affects the blood vessels in the eye), glaucoma, and cataracts. If left untreated, these conditions can cause vision loss.
Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) are the two most common, yet threatening, diabetes-related complications, which is why checking your blood sugar regularly (as indicated by your doctor) is crucial to diabetes management.
Avoid Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
The key to preventing many of these type 2 diabetes complications is to maintain good blood sugar control. To do this, eat right, exercise, monitor your blood sugar as recommended by your doctor, don't smoke, and commit to making small, healthy choices every day.
Always report any unusual signs or symptoms to your doctor and other members of your care team. Together, you can work to prevent these diabetes-related health complications.