Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting the way your body processes sugar in your diet. When diabetes is left unmanaged, you may be at serious risk for health issues that affect your longevity and quality of life.
At Castle Hills Family Practice, our experienced medical providers specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of diabetes conditions. We can help you avoid the potentially life-threatening complications diabetes can cause.
What to know about diabetes
Several types of diabetes can develop in both adults and children, including:
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your pancreas, the organ producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps convert sugar in your blood to the energy you need to function.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body can’t make enough insulin or use the insulin it produces to keep your blood sugar levels controlled. This type of diabetes often results from a poor diet and an inactive lifestyle.
Prediabetes is a condition that describes blood sugar levels that are high but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Having this condition can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy and causes their blood sugar levels to be high. This condition usually resolves after delivery of the baby but can increase the mother’s risk for Type 2 diabetes following childbirth.
What happens with diabetes is uncontrolled
When you have Type 1 diabetes, you take insulin daily to keep your blood sugar levels healthy. Treatment for Type 2 and prediabetes typically starts with lifestyle and diet changes to lower blood sugar levels. You may also need medications to keep a healthy range of your blood sugar levels.
If you don’t take your medications as you should or make lifestyle and diet changes necessary to improve your health, your risk for critical health issues increases. These issues can include:
- Blurry vision
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger or thirst
Diabetes can also cause slow-healing ulcers on the feet and nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy).
Because damaged nerves cause a loss of sensation, these ulcers can go unnoticed and increase your risk for infection and tissue death. Death of tissue can result in amputation of your toes, feet, and other parts of the leg.
Long-term complications diabetes can cause
If your diabetes remains unmanaged for too long, you may be more likely to develop heart disease.
Other serious consequences of diabetes can include:
- Kidney failure
- Permanent vision loss
- Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive dysfunction
Ultimately, uncontrolled diabetes may also increase your risk factors for premature death. To prevent such serious complications, you must continue to take medications as needed.
Also, keep up with regular blood testing to know the range of your blood sugars daily and eat a healthy diet. We can recommend other strategies to regulate sugar levels in your blood so you can live a long, healthy life.
Call one of our Castle Hills Family Practice offices in San Antonio, Texas, to schedule a diabetes consultation if you need help managing your disease, or book an appointment online today.