Even before you notice symptoms, high blood sugar can damage parts of your
body. That's why certain diabetes
tests to check blood sugar control and to catch problems early are so
But many patients aren't getting key diabetes tests at least annually,
such as the hemoglobin A1c test, a dilated
eye exam, and a foot exam.
"If you look at the nationwide data, it's sobering," says Enrico
Cagliero, MD, a diabetes researcher and assistant professor of medicine at
Harvard Medical School...
Doctors do not understand what causes some people
to develop diabetes complications while others do not. Some people may have
tissue and unidentified factors that are resistant to damage. Lifestyle and
inherited factors may also affect the risk for complications. For
example, if you smoke, you are at higher risk for heart and blood
vessel disease than someone who does not smoke.
People with diabetes are at risk for
heart attack and other heart problems.
If you have
diabetic neuropathy, especially if it affects the
internal organs (autonomic neuropathy), you may not have heart-related symptoms
or may have symptoms that are not typical of heart problems. As a result, you
may not seek medical help early enough to prevent serious problems or even
death. Be sure to seek care very early, even if your symptoms are not serious
and even if you think your symptoms are not related to your heart.
People who have diabetes are more
likely to have a stroke than people who do not have diabetes. Plaque buildup and clot formation cause blockage in
the blood vessels leading to the brain. People with diabetes often have high
blood pressure, which can cause abnormalities in the small blood vessels of the
brain and lead to stroke.
Peripheral arterial disease
People with diabetes are
at risk for narrowing of the large vessels of their legs. The resulting poor
circulation impairs healing and means that even a minor injury or infection can
develop into a serious infection. If you have
peripheral diabetic neuropathy, you are at increased
risk for injury to your feet and legs. A serious foot infection may travel up
your leg, infect the bones, and may lead to an amputation.
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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