By interfering with your blood sugar levels, diabetes puts you at risk for a long list of health conditions, including heart disease, gum disease and tooth decay, chronic kidney disease, hearing loss, nerve damage, and mental health issues, to name a few.
Two of the most common diabetes complications affect your eyes and your feet.
Dr. Venkata Vallury and Dr. Visalakshi Vallury at Redwood Family Health Center in McKinney and Farmers Ranch, Texas, are experts in caring for people with diabetes and can help you manage your symptoms and prevent complications that further degrade your health.
When your blood sugar spikes, the network of tiny vessels and delicate tissues in your eyes feel the effects immediately. Over time, they break down and lead to vision problems. There are several ways diabetes affects your eyes.
Sometimes, blurry vision is a temporary symptom of lost sleep or eye strain. Or, it may mean you need a new pair of glasses. But before you jump to conclusions, it’s worth checking your blood sugar. When blood sugar increases, the vessels and lenses in your eyes can swell and cause blurry vision.
If you have diabetes, your chances of developing cloudy lenses in your eyes called cataracts are much higher than people without diabetes, and you can expect them to progress more quickly than they do in others. Cataracts form over your lenses, which means they need to be replaced with new lenses.
Diabetes also puts you at high risk for glaucoma, a condition where fluid builds up in your eye. Because it gets blocked and can’t drain properly, the pressure increases and damages blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to vision loss.
High blood sugar can also damage the vessels in your retina, the part that captures light and turns it into images, so your optic nerve can send them to your brain. Called diabetic retinopathy, this condition is extremely serious and requires early treatment to prevent blindness. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
In addition to blood vessels, high blood sugar destroys nerves, too, and about 50% of all diabetics experience nerve damage. This occurs most frequently in the feet because they’re far from your heart. Here’s how diabetes affects your feet.
When your nerves are damaged, you no longer feel anything, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. While numbness may seem like no big deal, it can be a huge problem if you experience an injury, but never realize it because you feel no pain. Unnoticed blisters, cuts, and sores can turn into full-fledged infections.
Because high blood sugar slows down your blood flow, so it takes a long time for blood — and all its oxygen and healing properties — to reach your feet. That means small wounds that would normally heal quickly, stay open and fester, turning to gaping ulcers.
The danger is that these foot ulcers can become gangrenous and destroy the tissues in your foot and leg. Unfortunately, every 30 seconds, someone loses a limb (by amputation) because of diabetes.
When you have diabetes, you need to wear shoes and socks that keep your feet dry and give them room to breathe because your condition makes it easier to develop common foot problems, such as:
You can help prevent these issues by checking your feet daily for signs of a problem, and seeking our help right away if you see something concerning.
Also, keep your feet clean and dry, never go barefoot, and check the insides of your shoes before putting them on to make sure there are no pebbles, thorns, or protruding seams.
At Redwood Family Health Center, we can help you manage your diabetes symptoms, control your blood sugar, and monitor any complications that may arise. We create a personalized treatment plan that takes into account your lifestyle, age, weight, and other existing health conditions.
Whether you need help losing weight, managing your stress level, quitting smoking, or lowering your blood pressure, we work with you to reach your goals.
To learn more about diabetes and how it affects your eyes, feet, and so much more, call us or request an appointment using our online booking tool today. The sooner the better.