nervous-looking woman looking through a collection of warning signs.

Fear of Diabetes Complications

If you are someone who is not familiar with diabetes and the complications that could come from it, this may not cause you much worry until you or a loved one comes face to face with this illness. It can be a bit challenging for not only the patient but for their loved ones as well. I myself have decided not to look at this illness like a bad thing. I try to learn more about it so that I can teach others and also be a voice for the ones that can't be heard.

Type 2 diabetes and amputations

I remember when I was younger, I would see someone with a leg missing and my mind always assumed they lost their leg in the war or some type of accident. I never thought that it was diabetes. Wow, to me so many people were in the war and lost their leg or legs. Some only at the knee and some all the way up. I remember my grandmother getting a portion of her heel removed because of an infection but it was not her foot or leg.

When I was diagnosed in 2014 I was still not completely aware of the complications that could come from having diabetes. Over time I have continued to educate myself as much as I could and still continue to educate myself.

More recently I started realizing that all of the amputations that I saw in my past were not what I thought at all. Often when my husband and I would pass someone that had an amputation he would say they lost their leg to diabetes. During this time I started thinking back on all those that I have seen in my life that may have lost their leg or legs to diabetes. Men and women the same. I started realizing how important it was to keep managing this as best as I could and pay attention to my feet. Always making sure that I keep shoes on and also making sure that I educate myself on the amputation with diabetes and other complications that can be associated with this illness.

Complications of type 2 diabetes

I have compiled a list below of some complications that can be associated with type 2 diabetes. Again, I say that can be associated with, not definitely associated with. Some people may have or had one of these, and have never even been diagnosed with diabetes.

Heart disease

Did you know that type 2 diabetes increases your chance of having heart disease? This is why we should stay aware and on top of our diabetes; educate ourselves on what we can do to reduce our chances as much as possible. Some things that can increase our risk are illnesses like high blood pressure and high cholesterol which can also be managed with proper medications prescribed by a healthcare professional. Also, staying active and changing up some things in your diet can help decrease your chances. There a few more things that could increase our risk like smoking and alcohol consumption at a certain amount in a certain period of time. You should talk to a healthcare professional to find out what is a safe amount to consume and also that it doesn't interfere with your medications. So yes, making some personal lifestyle changes can make a difference.

Kidney disease

Another complication that I've seen as a result of type 2 diabetes is kidney disease. If we don't have controlled diabetes it means that our glucose numbers could be too high for our kidneys to be able to properly filter our blood. This, in turn, can cause damage to the kidneys leading to kidney disease. Some stages of kidney disease may require some assistance to filter your blood since the kidneys may not be able to properly filter the blood anymore naturally.

High blood pressure

Another complication of type 2 diabetes is high blood pressure. I am not saying that you will only get high blood pressure if you are a diabetic but I am saying that our risk increases. I was actually diagnosed with high blood pressure 13 years prior to my diabetes diagnosis. That is proof that you can live your whole life with high blood pressure and never even have type 2 diabetes. But just be aware that this can be a complication with uncontrolled glucose levels.

Other complications

Also, with type 2 diabetes, our chance of having a stroke is increased. Our chances for retinopathy is increased due to the fact that high levels of sugar in our blood can damage the vessels in the retina. This can lead to problems like cataracts, glaucoma and more. Also, remember that those high levels of sugar in the blood can cause nerve damage and can lead to neuropathy that can affect your feet. As stated in the beginning, it can lead to amputation because when you have nerve damage and do not realize it, you may have an infection or something that goes untreated and it can be a huge problem that I do not welcome.

Have you experienced any of these or other complications? Would you like to share a bit about your experience to help others in similar situations?

 

How to prevent complications

The best thing to do is to educate ourselves and spread awareness. Many don't know the complications that can come from this illness and when people are unaware of signs and symptoms they tend to ignore a tingle, numbness, swelling, blurred vision and so much more.

These are just some of the complications that I have researched because I have seen this in many communities. I am really scared of additional complications and I don't ever want to have them. I currently have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. I have started making changes to my diet and also adding a daily activity to help decrease my chances of any other complications. One-step at a time.

What fears do you have with any of the conditions that I have mentioned or may not have mentioned? Has anything hit close to home? Do you feel like you could help someone make better decisions? Will you make any changes yourself?

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