Long Term Physical Effects of Diabetes – Dr. Norman Swan

by | Diabetes, Kidney Health

It is essential to regularly consult with your doctor, have blood test’s and embrace a more healthy lifestyle to put off diabetes or keep it from getting worse.

There are a couple of things to be said about the effects of diabetes. I’m gonna largely talk abou type 2 diabetes, which is the diabetes that comes on in adulthood.

Keeping your diabetes in check.

Long-term effects can be prevented if you get your blood sugar, and other risk factors, and under control. The long-term effects of diabetes are more to do with diseases related to diabetes then diabetes itself. Diseases such as heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease, arterial disease in your legs and so on.

If you do get type 2 diabetes, or you’re at risk of it, and you should consult your GP regularly. You should also try losing weight, and going on a healthy diet. Studies show, that the Mediterranean diet (or something similar), can actually stop the process of type 2 diabetes as can weight training. So you can do to things to halt type 2 diabetes in its tracks. There is growing evidence that even that a low-carb diet might be able to do that for you too. But in terms of the long-term effects of diabetes, there are two main things that you need to do.

Long-term care of diabetes

  1. Keep blood sugar under control. Take advice about your diet, and your diabetes in general, this could also mean discussing medication options. Make small lifestyle changes such as moderate exercise for 150 minutes a week, plus diet like mention above.
  2. Take medications IF required. Medication will help to ensure you actually reduce your risk of heart disease. Heart disease and kidney disease are biggest risks for type 2 diabetes.

Blood pressure and looking after your kidneys

If you can get your cholesterol and your blood pressure down it will make an enormous difference. People with type 2 diabetes often do need to be on cholesterol and blood pressure lowering medication even if their cholesterol and blood pressure is normal. This is because a “normal blood pressure” for somebody with diabetes might actually be high due to their health risk. With diabetes you become much more sensitive to blood pressure and cholesterol fluctuations.

Make sure to have your eyes checked on a regular basis in case you’re experiencing vascular effects in them. With diabetes these need to be checked on a regular basis to prevent eye problems.

Your kidney is the best thing is to keep your blood pressure under control, and your blood sugar under control. So get regular checks with your GP, undertake lifestyle changes, and don’t be afraid of medications because they can prevent long-term physical effects.

Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist