Living with blood glucose that stays over 8mmol/l for a prolonged period of time can cause serious damage to the body. High blood glucose levels over a sustained period of time, damages the large and small blood vessels and nerve endings. If left unchecked, this can cause problems that can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and amputations.

It can be very frightening to think about this, but there is good news despite this. Early detection and good care, combined with advances in medical treatment, make it possible for you to stay healthy and live a long life.

Eye damage (retinopathy)You should have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist every year
Kidney damage (nephropathy)Kidney damage can be detected by testing urine for protein (microalbuminurea or MAU). All people with diabetes should have this test done every year
Vascular damageMake sure that you test your blood pressure regularly and that you do some form of exercise.
Nerve Damage (neuropathy)Nerve damage leads to loss of sensation in the feet, and they become particularly vulnerable to wounds and infection, often leading to amputation. Take care of your feet by washing your feet daily, keeping the skin soft, wearing comfortable supportive shoes and not walking barefoot. Let your doctor examine your feet at each visit. Show any wounds, cuts and sores on your feet to your doctor and see a podiatrist every six months, if possible.
Sexual Dysfunction Nerve damage can also affect sexual health, causing impotence and/or failure to have an erection in men, and inability to achieve orgasm in women.
InfectionsInfections, itchiness, sores, boils etc. are common - as high blood glucose inhibits the action of the white blood cells, the body's main defence.

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