Diabetes Mellitus: Not Just About Controlling Your Blood Sugar

Ever too often, I encounter patient who are diabetic and practice blood sugar monitoring only. Diabetes mellitus is a condition that affects all organ systems. It is important that patients also monitor their eyes, kidney, nerves and heart. Some conditions directly associated with poor diabetic control are:
Diabetic retinopathy: an eye condition that affects your retina (the part of the eye that is sensitive to light). Patient may experience blurred or foggy vision and progressive loss of vision. Sometimes, there is also bleeding at the back of one’s eye. The American Optometric Association recommends that people who have diabetes get a comprehensive dilated eye exam once a year.
Diabetic neuropathy:  nerve damage characterized by:

  • Numbness (loss of feeling) or painful tingling and burning in parts of the body, especially your feet, legs, toes and hands
  • Muscle weakness and difficulty walking.
  • Poorly healing cuts, sores, or blisters

At least once per year patients should visit the podiatrist for diabetic foot care.
Diabetic nephropathy: worsening kidney function as blood vessels supplying the kidneys are damaged. It is important to have a kidney function test performed by your primary care at intervals. Diabetic nephropathy may not cause any symptoms until kidney damage is severe. As the condition progresses, symptoms can include the following:

  • swelling of the feet and ankles
  • weakness/fatigue
  • decreased appetite
  • nausea/vomiting
  • insomnia / difficulty sleeping
  • confusion

Diabetes, being overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease often go together. Losing weight, lowering cholesterol, healthy eating, smoking cessation, and exercise helps relieve some of these conditions.
Trishanna Sookdeo MD,MPH,FAAFP is a board certified family medicine physician She provides care for the entire family, ages 3 days and up. Should you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call 863-419-2420 ext 2, and ask for Dr. Sookdeo.

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