Type 2 diabetes: Three signs of high blood sugar that can lead to irreversible damage

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes stems from a dysfunction in the way the body produces the hormone insulin. One of the primary roles of insulin is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Poor insulin production therefore raises the risk of blood sugar levels running roughshod over the body, causing untold complications.

According to Doctor Sumera Shahaney, GP and Head of Clinical Operations Operations at Thriva, there are three telltale signs of blood sugar that can lead to permanent damage if left untreated.

For starters, consistently high blood sugar levels can increase the risk of retinopathy, warned Doctor Shahaney.

Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina).

According to Doctor Shahaney, the hallmark symptom of retinopathy is vision loss.

Another complication of high blood sugar that can lead to irreversible damage is neuropathy, she warned.

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of high blood sugar whereby the nerves of your extremities become damaged.

“This can lead to symptoms like sensory loss in hands and feet, stocking-glove distribution,” explained Doctor Shahaney.

Stocking-glove distribution is the medical term to describe a characteristic pattern of numbness that often affects the hands or feet.

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Finally, nephropathy – a general term for the deterioration of proper functioning in the kidneys. – can lead to irreversible damage, warned Doctor Shahaney.

What’s more, untreated diabetes can lead to “accelerated atherosclerosis” – a chronic complication affecting the arteries in the heart, brain, lower extremity, and kidney, she warned.

“This increases the chances of heart disease and stroke.”

How to stave off the risk of serious complications

Blood sugar control provides a robust defence against serious diabetes complications.

Even simple dietary modifications can reduce your risk of high blood sugar levels.

According to Diabetes.co.uk, drinking more water can aid blood sugar control.

The health body explains: “When your blood sugar levels are running high, your body will try to flush excess sugar out of your blood through the urine.

“As a result, your body will need more fluids to rehydrate itself. Drinking water can help the body with flushing out some of the glucose in the blood.”

Exercise is another crucial piece of the puzzle.

According to the NHS, you should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week to bring blood sugar levels under control.

“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” notes the health body.

This could be:

  • Fast walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Doing more strenuous housework or gardening.

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