4. Nerve damage: Nerve damage can cause a lot of problems especially when it arises due to uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetes related nerve damage can cause pain in legs, arms and hands can cause problems in digestion, leading a normal family life.
The common symptoms are
• Tingling sensation, pain in toes, legs, arms and fingers
• Wasting of muscles in feet or hands
• Indigestion , nausea, vomiting
• Problems in urinating
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Vaginal dryness in women and erectile dysfunction in men
Weight loss and depression may also be present but these are not due to neuropathy but it accompanies these symptoms.
Neuropathy can affect almost all the parts of the body.
The first step towards treatment is bringing down the blood sugar levels. When the treatment starts, many feel the symptoms worsening but over a few days the symptoms are brought under control.
Pain killers may be given to relive the symptoms of pain. Always remember that pain killer must never be taken without the advice of the Physician.
When the digestive process is hindered due to nerve damage, the diet has to be modified. Eating small frequent meal helps. Fatty foods and spicy foods are best to be avoided.
As most of the complications occur at the foot, feet care is of utmost importance. This can be due to the fact that there is loss of sensation and when one gets hurt , it cannot be felt.
• Check the feet daily for sores, boils, cracks or any changes in the feet. Lay a mirror on the floor and check the feet regularly.
• Keep the feet free of cracks and use a moisturizer.
• Trim and file nails regularly.
• Always use a slipper / shoe when walking. Even inside the house there may be some fallen object that might cause injury.
• Dry the feel properly after a bath. Be sure to dry in between the toes.
• Wear shoes that fit properly.
5. Teeth and gums: Gum disease is one of oral problems of uncontrolled diabetes. Actually oral problem can happen to anybody. But diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugar are more prone to it. When the sugar level rises, bacteria thrive in the mouth and cause swelling, soreness and redness of the gums while brushing the teeth.
Smoking coupled with diabetes increases the chance of oral problems and the risk increases if the person is above 45 years of age.
You can know if there is an oral problem when these symptoms are seen:
• Swollen / red/ sore / bleeding gums
• Loose or sensitive teeth
• When the gums pull away from the teeth so that the teeth looks long
• Dentures don’t fit well
• Bad breath
Here is what you can do to keep dental / oral problems at bay
• Use a good brush that don’t hurt the gums and brush your tooth after every meal and even after a snack
• Floss daily
• If using dentures, keep them clean.
• Visit a dentist regularly and let him know that you are a diabetic.
• If there are any oral problems see a dentist immediately.
• Quit smoking
• Keep blood sugar under control.
Prevention and treatment of Diabetes related complications:
When the diabetic complications are detected in the early stage, medications and a change in life style may be sufficient to cure / prevent further damage to the organs affected. Only when it remain untreated does it lead to further complications where medicines alone are not sufficient and surgery or other methods of management may be required.
If the person also suffers from blood pressure coupled with diabetes, then blood pressure must also be kept under check. Also the cholesterol levels must be checked regularly and if the values are high, steps have to be taken to bring them under control.
Though there are other smaller complications, I have discussed the major ones here.Hope it was useful....
Earlier in this series on Diabetes
Diabetes - An introduction
Gestational Diabetes-Part I
Gestational Diabetes- Part II
Handling diabetes under special situations
Risks / Complications of uncontrolled diabetes #1 -Heart and Blood vessels, eyes, Kidney
Exotic Diabetic Cooking-Book Review
Check out what the Marathoners are doing in Season #4 of the blogging marathon hosted by Srivalli
Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ[That's me]
Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya
Seven Days of Soup:Ila, Smita P
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika
Seven Days of Cakes: Bhagyashri
30 Minutes Meals: Archana
Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli