Although diabetes is a common disease, it’s also a serious, complicated one because it affects the entire body and can lead to some serious complications, including vision loss, kidney failure and heart disease. But, diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence. The key to living a long, healthy life with diabetes is being aware of all the risks associated with the disease. Read on to learn about some of the most common diabetes complications and more importantly, how to prevent them.
1. Blurry vision and blindness
Diabetes can take a serious toll on your eyes in more ways than one. Blurry vision, blindness, cataracts, glaucoma and retinopathy are all conditions you have to worry about once you’ve been diagnosed with the disease. “Diabetes affects the small vessels in the eyes and the kidneys and [can cause] serious consequences if the blood sugar is not well-controlled,” say Dr. Karin Hehenberger, who specializes in diabetes. To keep your eyes healthy, visit your eye doctor regularly so that if there’s an issue, it be spotted and treated early on.
2. Tooth and gum disease
If your diabetes is not well-controlled, you’re at a higher risk for dental problems, such as cavities and gum disease. “This has to do with the high sugar levels often associated with uncontrolled diabetes,” Dr. Hehenberger says. “High sugar affects the small vessels and thus the tissue in the mouth.”