Controlling your blood glucose levels isn’t always easy. However, it’s also the key to staying healthy and avoiding long-term complications from diabetes. So, it’s important that you have a solid understanding of your condition. Equally important is that you have established, with the help of your physicians, a management plan that suits you and your lifestyle.
Having a diabetes management plan that truly works for you is the best way you can prevent dangerous spikes and crashes, which wreak havoc on your blood vessels over time, causing the unpleasant, painful, and sometimes debilitating complications you’re trying to avoid.
While testing is, of course, an excellent indicator of how well your management plan is working, it’s also important that you have an idea of what uncontrolled blood glucose levels look like over time.
Paying attention to the signs your body is giving you can clue you into a potential problem early on. Knowing how to spot these indicators can help you make the necessary adjustments to get things where they should be, and hopefully prevent long-term damage.
Let’s take a look at the signs of uncontrolled blood glucose levels.
1. Bowel and Urinary tract problems
Nerve damage caused by uncontrolled diabetes can result in a variety of uncomfortable issues. People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing gastroparesis, urinary tract and bladder infections, and suffering from incontinence, constipation, and diarrehea.
Insulin resistance is a common culprit for chronic fatigue. If your cells are resisting the glucose (energy) you’re fueling it with, it won’t have the energy it needs to get through the day. Additionally, diabetes is stressful. That stress is often accompanied by high blood pressure and heart rate, both of which deplete energy.
Inflammation, a common side effect of uncontrolled diabetes, is often accompanied by the release of cytokines, which encourage your body to rest. If you’ve ever had the flu and felt excessively tired, you’ve most likely experienced a similar feeling. Put simply, it’s your body’s immune system telling you it’s time for sleep.
3. Your vision is getting worse
Worsening vision could be a sign of diabetic retinopathy. This condition is the result of blood glucose fluctuations causing damage to retinal blood vessels. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye and is responsible for translating light into images.
In some cases, macular edema will develop as a result of retinopathy. Diabetic macular edema (DME) is the swelling of the macula, which is near the center of the retina and responsible for detailed vision. Left untreated both of these conditions can lead to severe visual impairment and even vision loss.
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L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.