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How Does Diabetes Affect Your Body?

Nerves

Over time, high blood sugar levels can harm your nerves. As many as 70% of people with diabetes get this type of damage.

  • Peripheral diabetic neuropathy can cause pain and burning or a loss of feeling in your feet. It usually starts with your toes. It can also affect your hands and other body parts.
  • Autonomic neuropathy stems from damage to the nerves that control your internal organs. Symptoms include sexual problems, digestive issues (a condition called gastroparesis), trouble sensing when your bladder is full, dizziness and fainting, or not knowing when your blood sugar is low.

The good news: You have many options to treat your pain. The doctor might prescribe an antidepressant, a medication that stops seizures (called an anticonvulsant).  He could also give you drugs that go on your skin, like creams or patches. He might suggest you use a device that stimulates your nerves called TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).

Teeth

Having diabetes puts you at higher risk for gum disease.

Symptoms: Your gums might be red and swollen and bleed easily.

The good news: If you keep your blood sugar under control, visit your dentist regularly, and take good care of your teeth each day, you can avoid gum problems and tooth loss.

Take Charge of Your Condition

Some people have to make only small lifestyle changes to keep their blood sugar under control to reverse a diabetes complication. Others need medications to stop them from getting worse.

Treatment of complications focuses on slowing down the damage. That may include medication, surgery, or other options.

But the most important ways to slow diabetes complications are to keep your blood sugar levels under control, eat right, exercise, avoid smoking, and get high blood pressure and high cholesterol treated.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on March 24, 2015
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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