Each year in the United States, 1.2 million people are diagnosed with diabetes. If you find yourself in this group, from the moment you receive this diagnosis, you need to take steps to avoid the life-changing, if not life-threatening, complications that are associated with the disease.
If you think this sounds overly dramatic, we assure you it’s not. To paint a clearer picture, the team here at Temecula Medical Group, including Dr. Richard H. Rawson, Ryan D. Rowan, PA-C, and Armanda L. Alvarez, FNP-C, wants to highlight some of the potential consequences of diabetes. And in each case, having the right diabetes team in your corner can make all the difference.
1. Preserve nerve health (and avoid amputation)
When you have diabetes, you have dangerously high levels of glucose in your bloodstream because of insulin resistance and/or not enough insulin (the hormone that delivers glucose to your cells).
These elevated sugar levels can damage your blood vessels, including those that serve your peripheral nervous system. The further from your heart, the more likely this damage will occur.
About half of people with diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), and, in most cases, this develops in the feet and lower legs. In addition to pain, this nerve damage can lead to numbness, making you less aware of a problem in your lower limbs. As a result, ulcers can develop and are slow to heal, thanks to the damaged blood vessels that can’t deliver healing resources.
Worst case scenario: Nerve damage leads to the threat of amputation — of the 200,000 people who have amputations each year in the US, 130,000 have diabetes.
Fortunately, with our help, you can manage your blood sugar levels to avoid nerve damage. Should peripheral neuropathy complications develop despite our best efforts, we can slow the progression of the neuropathy and be very vigilant about any wounds or issues in your lower limbs.
2. Safeguard your vision
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the US between the ages of 20 and 74. The primary culprit is diabetic retinopathy, a condition in which high glucose levels damage the sensitive blood vessels around your optic nerve, slowly robbing you of your vision.
As with the neuropathy we described above, our goal is to stay one step ahead of this damage by controlling your diabetes.
3. Protect against heart disease
Since diabetes directly affects blood vessel health and circulation, it’s easy to see why it can impact your cardiovascular health. As a result, mismanaged or untreated diabetes can place you at far greater risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
Under our care, we manage your glucose levels to improve blood vessel health and provide you with medications that can improve your cardiovascular health should we see areas of concern, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
We deliver a comprehensive diabetes management plan
While providing you with ways to supplement your insulin to bring blood sugar levels down can go a long way, we also work with you on critical lifestyle changes that you can make to control your diabetes better. Losing weight, exercising more, ditching habits like smoking, and more are keys to maintaining your health when you have diabetes.
Our team is with you every step of the way, providing tools and resources, oversight, and a little push whenever necessary.
For expert and knowledgeable care of your diabetes, please contact our Temecula, California, office or visit our clinic from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday.