Five life-threatening and irreversible warning signs of diabetes

Diabetes UK show how to test feet for diabetic feet sensitivity

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The main difference between diabetes 1 and 2 is that type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition that often shows up early in life, and type 2 is mainly lifestyle-related and develops over time. Both have something serious in common: left untreated, they can cause catastrophic health problems. Heart attacks, strokes and loss of eyesight are among the serious health implications of leaving diabetes untreated.

Initial symptoms include tiredness, increased thirst, unexplained weight loss and wounds taking longer to heal.

But many people often dismiss these red flags, which can have grave consequences.

Doctor Akash Patel, Medical Director and GP at MyHealthcare Clinic, said: “While it’s easy to think these symptoms are something else or nothing to worry about, many people don’t realise just how devastating diabetes can be if left untreated.

“With a plan in place, diabetics can live long and healthy lives. But mismanaging the condition, or not treating it at all, can cause serious health issues.

“It’s important that people don’t ignore the warning signs as the damage can be life-threatening and irreversible.”

So, what can go wrong?

High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycaemia, can affect different parts of the body including the hands and feet.

For starters, Doctor Patel said “diabetics can experience kidney disease, known as diabetic nephropathy, due to high blood sugar making it harder for the kidneys to flush waste and fluid out of the body”.

The doc continued: “They also need to take extra care of their feet due to poor circulation and nerve damage. If left untreated, this could even lead to amputation.

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“This is because wounds and cuts can take longer to heal due to blood vessel damage.”

According to Doctor Patel, it’s not only feet that are a concern when nerves become damaged.

He said: “We rely on our nerves to transport messages around the body, to and from the brain. If we experience nerve damage, it can impact how we see, feel, hear and move.

“Poor circulation impacts how blood and oxygen are transported around the body. If oxygen and blood don’t reach the brain it can cause a stroke. A heart attack can occur when blood clots block arteries.”

What’s more, diabetics are also at higher risk of developing certain cancers, while cancer treatments can also make diabetes harder to manage, the doc warned.

Finally, eye problems are another frightening side effect, with diabetic retinopathy leading to sight loss if not treated in time, Doctor Patel added.

While diabetes and its complications can be terrifying, Doctor Patel insists these dangers can be avoided with a correct diagnosis and management plan.

“Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes,” advises the NHS.

What happens next

“If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to eat healthily, take regular exercise and carry out regular blood tests to ensure your blood glucose levels stay balanced,” says the NHS.

The health body continues: “People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes also require regular insulin injections for the rest of their life.

“As type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, medicine may eventually be required, usually in the form of tablets.”

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