Diabetes Complications and Prevention

Perhaps the hardest thing about living with diabetes is thinking about the possibility of complications.

The key is the same for all diabetes-related complications: keeping blood glucose levels close to normal can help prevent or delay their occurrence.

Fred went to the doctor because he was having
problems with his vision. He didn’t expect a diag-
nosis of diabetes. And to make it worse, he found out
he would also need laser treatments for his eyes. He
read that complications arise after living with diabetes
for years.

It hardly seemed fair that he had diabetic
eye disease even before he knew he had diabetes. He
wondered what else might be wrong with him.
Elaine was only 16 when she was diagnosed with
diabetes. Everyone had told her to take care of herself,
and she did the best she could. But back then, they
didn’t have glucose meters and insulin pumps. Now she
was in her 40s and was starting to experience numbness
in her legs. It just wasn’t fair. She had done all the right

Warning Signs of Diabetes Complications
Anytime you “just don’t feel right” and can’t explain it, you need to tell your provider. Call right away if you notice any of these signs:

  • vision problems, such as blurry or spotty vision or flashes
  • unexplained, overwhelming tiredness
  • discomfort in your legs when walking
  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • chest pain that comes on when you start to exert yourself
  • cuts or sores that stay infected or take a long time to heal

It’s possible that you view your diabetes care from two perspectives: the “close-at-hand” and the “far away.” The close-at-hand might be things like daily blood glucose monitoring, making food choices, and reaching next month’s fitness goal.

Maybe the faraway category contains diabetes complications: something to consider, but not dwell on.

But the truth is, the more you think now about the complications of diabetes and ways to prevent them, the better off you will be. The best way to reduce your risk of getting diabetes complications is to keep your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Doing this not only helps your faraway picture look brighter, your close-at-hand experiences with diabetes will be more meaningful.

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