What happens when you don’t listen to your doctor’s warnings about type 2 diabetes? We take a look at some of the serious consequences if this lifestyle disease is left untreated.
1. You could have a heart attack
There is a clear link between type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Higher blood glucose levels raise your blood pressure, resulting in hypertension that puts major strain on your body’s arteries. This means you will experience all the symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease. If not dealt with, this could result in a heart attack.
2. You may suffer severe nerve damage
Not only do high levels of blood glucose impact the health of your heart and arteries, they can also cause major damage to your body’s tiniest blood vessels (called capillaries), which deliver oxygenated blood to nerves across your body. In advanced stages of type 2 diabetes, it’s not uncommon to experience tingling, burning sensations or even numbness or pain in an area of the body that shows no visible damage.
3. You could lose your feet to gangrene
Nerve damage tends to take hold in the feet. This is often because blood flow becomes too little to sustain the health of this muscle and flesh, resulting in infections that don’t easily heal. Sometimes, this damage can result in gangrene and ultimately, amputation.
4. You could experience erectile dysfunction
Nerve damage resulting from diabetes isn’t only reserved for feet or small areas of your limbs; it can also impact your major organs. Neuropathy can result in loss of bladder control, stomach pain, and even erectile dysfunction.
5. Your kidneys could pack up
Diabetic nephropathy – which is kidney damage – is another major risk of type 2 diabetes. This condition is a result of continuous damage to capillaries and vessels surrounding the kidney, damaging your kidney’s ability to filter waste effectively. It’s often not diagnosed until the damage is quite advanced, but some warning signs include swollen ankles and legs, leg cramps, an increased need to urinate at night, constantly feeling weak, nauseous and vomiting, and feeling itchy for no reason.
6. You could go blind
Damage to the blood vessels (and consequent nerve damage) around the eye is known as retinopathy and can result in blurred vision or total loss of sight. Additionally, type 2 diabetes puts you at a higher risk of glaucoma and cataracts, and both can result in partial or complete loss of vision.
7. And lose your hearing too
Vascular damage surrounding the ear can result in partial or total loss of hearing. Additionally, type 2 diabetics are susceptible to stubborn ear infections that can cause hearing loss in spite of treatment.
8. You could suffer from dementia
Ultimately, prolonged elevated levels of blood glucose are bound to have an impact on the sensitive blood vessels of the brain, resulting in loss of memory and other dementia like Alzheimer’s.