Type 2 Diabetes – Lowering Your Risk of Developing Diabetes Complications

Type 2 diabetes can cause many complications over time if it's not managed well. Heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve and foot problems are all risks. But there are steps you can take to prevent many of these complications. Read more and find out what you can do to lower your risk for three of the most common diabetes complications.

One of the most common complications of Type 2 diabetes is cardiovascular disease, including strokes and heart attacks. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. If diabetes is not controlled well, having too much sugar in the blood can cause damage to the blood vessels over time and this damage can lead to cardiovascular disease. Beside high blood sugar, other risk factors for cardiovascular disease are …

  • high blood pressure, and
  • high cholesterol.

1. To lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, it's important to decrease each of these risk factors. Keep your blood sugar levels steady by …

  • exercising,
  • following a healthy meal plan, and
  • taking medications or insulin injections as prescribed by your doctor.

Along with exercising and eating a healthy diet, smoking will also help decrease your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

2. Kidney disease is another common complication of Type 2 diabetes. Over time, having high blood sugar levels can damage the small blood vessels in your kidneys. This can result in the kidneys becoming less efficient – or even kidney failure. Kidney failure is much more common in people with Type 2 diabetes than in non-diabetics. The best way to prevent kidney disease is to keep your blood sugar under control, and also avoid high blood pressure. A healthy diet, plenty of exercise and avoiding smoking are still key!

3. Type 2 diabetes can also lead to nerve damage . Nerve damage is most common in the lower extremities, especially the feet. Nerve damage occurs when blood sugar and blood pressure are too high over time. It's dangerous because when the nerves are damaged, you may no longer be able to feel injuries to your feet – like sores or calluses. When injuries go untreated, they can become infected, and the infections can spread to the rest of the body. If this happens, the foot may need to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading any further. Type 2 diabetics are 25 more likely than non-diabetics to need an amputation. Keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure at healthy levels is the best way to prevent nerve damage. You can also prevent foot complications by checking your feet every day and looking for skin changes or injuries.