What to Know About Long-Term Diabetes Complications
Living with diabetes brings many daily challenges and frustrations. You have to watch your blood glucose levels, pay close attention to what and when you eat, and take medications, including insulin. Added to that burden is the realization that if you don’t, your health could be seriously compromised in years to come.
Poorly controlled diabetes can lead over time to a number of complications. Some — like heart disease, stroke and kidney disease — can be life-threatening.
“The biggest one is cardiovascular disease,” said Arch Mainous III, a diabetes researcher and chair of the department of health services research, management and policy at the University of Florida’s College of Public Health and Health Professions.
Unfortunately, some damage may even occur before an individual is diagnosed with diabetes.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of people with diabetes; those with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
“The problem is diabetes takes a long time to develop, and by the time somebody becomes symptomatic, they’re kind of down the road on some of these target complications,” Mainous said.
Prediabetes Is a Growing Threat
Because diabetes may hide in the body for years, millions at risk for the disease are not aware of it, Mainous said. In fact, a huge proportion of the American population — 39 percent, or 86 million adults — have prediabetes. And about 90 percent of those cases are undiagnosed, Mainous said.
“So there’s a whole lot more people at risk for developing diabetes, [but] if you identify these peop Continue reading