To protect your vision, all people with diabetes should see an ophthalmologist (an eye doctor) at least yearly. As part of the eye exam the doctor will dilate your eyes so that he or she can see the back of the eye (retina) and determine if the diabetes is causing damage. In people with type 1 diabetes, these annual exams should start within three to five years of diabetes once the patient is age 10 or older. People with type 2 diabetes should have their first eye exam once they are diagnosed. Those with eye complications may need to see their ophthalmologist more frequently. Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive eye exam during the first trimester and close follow-up with an eye doctor during their pregnancy. (This recommendation does not apply to women who develop gestational diabetes.)
Diabetes increases your risk of gastroparesis. With gastroparesis, the nerves to the stomach are damaged and stop working properly. This causes the stomach to take too long to empty its contents and makes it difficult to manage blood glucose levels. Sometimes, changing your diet can help. There are some medications and treatments for gastroparesis.
Talk to your doctor about ways to prevent diabetes complications. Ask for information on early warning signs so you can seek treatment when it is most effective.
Diabetes increases the chance of developing erectile dysfunction, or impotence. For some men, adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and reducing stress, may be all that is needed to resolve erectile dysfunction. In this health topic, you'll also learn why it's important to talk to your health care provider about your erectile dysfunction, as your doctor can recommend other remedies -- including medications, a vacuum constriction device (VCD), and other erectile dysfunction aids -- that can help.
As many as a third of people with diabetes will have a skin condition related to their disease at some time in their lives. High levels of glucose in the blood provide an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and fungi and can reduce the body's ability to heal itself. Fortunately, most skin conditions can be prevented and successfully treated if caught early. If your skin is not cared for properly with type 2 diabetes, a minor skin condition can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences.