Type 1 Diabetes: Living With Complications - What Happens
If complications from
type 1 diabetes are found early, treatment can slow
and sometimes reverse the damage. Complications that progress may cause serious
disability or death.
Diabetic retinopathy can lead to vision loss and
blindness. You are also at risk for other eye conditions that can cause vision
loss, such as
glaucoma. For more information, see the topic
Diabetic nephropathy can lead to kidney failure. For
more information, see the topic
Large blood vessel damage (macrovascular disease) can lead to
stroke, or circulation problems in your legs. For more
information, see the topics
Heart Attack and Unstable Angina,
Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs, or
Diabetic neuropathy can lead to a variety of problems.
Peripheral neuropathy (affecting sensation) along with blood vessel disease in
the legs can cause foot problems, including
Charcot foot and foot drop. If you develop a severe foot infection,
it can lead to
amputation. Autonomic neuropathy (affecting internal
functioning) can cause many problems, such as
hypoglycemia unawareness, and impotence. For more
information, see the topic
What can be done?
If your complication is found
early, you may need to make only minor lifestyle changes to stop its
progression. For example, if you have early
diabetic nephropathy, medicine can help prevent
further damage to your kidneys. Early treatment for a complication and keeping
blood sugar in a target range can help prevent
new complications. The American Diabetes Association recommends a
hemoglobin A1c level of less than 7% to help prevent complications. The A1c level is
a measure of your blood sugar over the past 2 or 3 months. Talk to your doctor
about what A1c level is best for you.
Other ways to prevent new
complications and/or to keep the complications you have from getting worse
Seeing your doctor regularly to have your treatment evaluated
and to have screening exams and tests.
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and 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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