Healthy Living

What Complications Can Occur if Type 2 Diabetes is Left Untreated?

What Complications Can Occur if Type 2 Diabetes is Left Untreated?

Key Takeaways

There are both long term and short term side effects of untreated diabetes, some of which can be life threatening.

It is very possible for your blood sugar level to decrease if your taking insulin or a sulfonylurea drug.  

If hypoglycemia is mild it can be treated with orange juice or eating a glucose tablet. Both of these things can raise your blood sugar level.

Introduction

There are many complications that can occur if you leave type 2 diabetes untreated If you do not maintain a healthy blood sugar level or glucose level, ranging from long-term and short-term complications to your health. They can range from feeling tired and sweaty to even requiring body parts to be amputated. But when the A1C level, or your average three-month blood glucose level, is controlled and managed with medications, a healthy diet and regular exercising, these complications can be controlled and sometimes even be avoided altogether. So, it’s in our hands, to manage our diabetes and talk to the doctor and get your body checked every once in a while, and customize a healthy routine for yourself.

Type 2 diabetes develops gradually and some people don’t realize that they have it until later in life. Only when they feel too sweaty, or urinate often or feel their feet has loss sensitivity etc. people go for a test. But,it is always good to be aware of the complications which might be caused, and take prior precautions to maintain your diabetes at an early stage. So, let us focus on some Type 2 Diabetic complications and ways you can keep away from them.

Short-term side effects of diabetes

Here are some of the most common short-term side effects that you can get from diabetes. Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar or blood glucose. It is very possible for your blood sugar level to decrease if you’re taking insulin or a sulfonylurea drug. If you take medications for type 2 diabetes and eat less, it is possible for your blood sugar level to decrease. Exercising too much and not controlling on your dosages of medicine can also cause hypoglycemia temporarily. There are some symptoms of hypoglycemia which include:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • sweating
  • whiteness of skin
  • anxiety
  • numbness in fingers, toes, or lips
  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • headache
  • slurred speech

If hypoglycemia is mild, it can be treated with orange juice or eating a glucose tablet. Both of these things can raise your blood sugar level. If you have type 2 diabetes and you take insulin, you should always carry glucose biscuits or some sweet candies which you can pop into your mouth if you feel giddy or tired due to hypoglycemia. Glucagon is a hormone that starts the body’s process of raising blood sugar levels that provides energy for the body’s normal functioning.

Long-term side effects

Type 2 diabetics face some long-term complications if the condition is not treated well:

Damage to blood vessels

Blood sugar levels keep building up in the body and can damage the blood vessels. Blood vessels distribute blood to various parts of our body. When blood vessels are not functioning properly, the body lacks proper blood circulation, which can cause the other parts of the body to get numb and slowly die.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is well known to cause problems in the eye and can even cause a loss of vision if the problem of blurred vision is not taken seriously. Occurrences of cataracts, retinopathy and glaucoma are common is people with uncontrolled diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar level in control can help in saving your eyes.

Decline in Cognitive ability

People with long term diabetes may face brain related and cognitive problems, which affects their concentration power as well as memory recall ability. Patients with these problems may seem disoriented and if the blood sugar levels are controlled, the brain might start functioning normally.

Fungal infections

In severe cases, if you visit a household where there is a person with uncontrolled diabetes, you can smell something foul, as if its decaying. It is nothing but fungus growing on the diabetic person. Fungus usually grows in areas such as a person’s feet, genitals and hand, which is usually dry. The body’s high sugar content also attracts the fungus. This area might be red and itchy with white scales and if not taken care of, can even cause amputations.

Stroke and heart attack

High blood sugar levels can cause stroke or paralysis and also heart attacks to happen. Especially when you are overweight and do not eat proper food and exercise regularly, the probabilities of these attacks increase. Also, do not smoke or drink alcohol as these substances can boost blood sugar levels.

Kidney problems

Kidneys filter the blood in our body by excreting wastes through urine. But this function can get altered if you face a condition called Diabetic neuropathy or kidney failure. Diabetic nephropathy cannot be detected quickly, until you regularly get your kidney function test done. With this problem, your kidney fails to function as normal and all toxic waste starts accumulating in your body. This may lead to kidney damage, wherein a transplant might be the last option. In this way, controlling diabetes, can save your kidneys.

Damage to nerves

Our nerves are connected to all our body parts and sends signals to brain for proper body functioning. But diabetes can cause Diabetic Neuropathy, or damage to the nerves, which means there will be no blood flow and connection between body parts and brain. Your hands and feet might feel lost and they become numb. Also, if you have any diabetic wounds, they do not heal quickly due to improper blood flow in the area. Nerve damage can also cause loss of limbs.

Hearing loss

If diabetes is not treated well, its complications can lead to associated complications like loss of hearing. Audiometry tests help in understanding the stage of hearing loss.

Sleep apnoea

Diabetics might find it hard to breathe normally while sleeping, causing them to breathe suddenly or sharply. This shallow breathing can cause sleep apnea and hence lack of good sleep.

The bottom line

Having Type 2 Diabetes need not be that scary when you understand its complications clearly and takes measures accordingly. Ask your doctor all the doubts you have and understand how your body reacts to diabetes.This is not something to fear as this can all be avoided. Always make sure you have a good balanced diet and stay away from junk food and excessive sweets. This will eventually lead to diabetes if left unmanaged.