CDC reports drop in diabetes complicationsBy
A focus on preventative care for people with diabetes is being credited with a drop in the occurrence of five major complications commonly associated with the disease. While the number of diabetes cases continues to rise in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control report complications have declined since 1990.
In the report released this week, the CDC says proactive (prevention) care for adults with diabetes contributed to a 68 percent drop in the risk of having a heart attack and a 64 percent drop in deaths linked to high blood sugar.
The risks of strokes and lower-limb amputations both fell by about one half, researchers found, and there was a 28 percent drop in cases of kidney disease so serious that dialysis or a transplant was required.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic note that diabetes can cause damage from head to foot. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:
Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) and high blood pressure. The risk of stroke is two to four times higher for people with diabetes, and the death rate from heart disease is two to four times higher for people with diabetes than for people without the disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Poorly controlled blood sugar can eventually cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.
Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Eye damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections. Severe damage might require toe, foot or even leg amputation.
Skin and mouth conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections. Gum infections also may be a concern, especially if you have a history of poor dental hygiene.
Osteoporosis. Diabetes may lead to lower than normal bone mineral density, increasing your risk of osteoporosis.
Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. So what connects the two conditions? One theory is that cardiovascular problems caused by diabetes could contribute to dementia by blocking blood flow to the brain or causing strokes. Other possibilities are that too much insulin in the blood leads to brain-damaging inflammation, or lack of insulin in the brain deprives brain cells of glucose.
Hearing problems. Diabetes can also lead to hearing impairment.
The recent good news is dampened by the fact that diabetes is still rising at alarming rates from 1990 to 2010, while the U.S. adult population rose by 27 percent, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes tripled, from 6.5 million to 20.7 million.
Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing diabetes and other conditions an easier task. For more information on care management needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at email@example.com.
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