Living with diabetes blog

Diabetes: What floor are you on?

By Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E. and Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. September 26, 2014

Have you ever thought your diabetes team is making "much ado about nothing"?

Your health care team says that your blood glucose numbers are high, but you feel great. A construction worker says that an A1C of 10.4 percent is right where he wants it to be because he fears low blood glucoses while on a roof.

While this is a valid concern, sometime in the future he may not be able to work at all because he has diabetes complications. So, is your diabetes team really making much ado about nothing?

One of our endocrinologists recently told a group class that getting complications is like jumping out of a tall building; you feel great until you reach the first floor! I thought that was a good way to describe the insidious nature of diabetes.

A common misconception is that diabetes is not serious because it's treatable. You may feel great while diabetes is wreaking havoc on your body. You may not have symptoms for months or years.

High blood glucose affects hearing and vision, sexual and mental health, and sleep. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputations and kidney failure. Your risk for heart attacks and strokes is tripled.

Diabetes not only affects the fine nerves in your hands and feet, it also affects the autonomic nervous system that controls the automatic functions in your body. These are functions such as your heartbeat, urination, digestion and sweating.

I know that even though there is an array of new medications and monitoring tools today, keeping diabetes in check requires constant vigilance. But the payoff is that you will decrease or delay your risk of developing diabetes complications.

The best way to prevent diabetes complications is to control your blood glucose. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to your goal as possible can often prevent damage or slow down further damage.

Your diabetes team is not making much ado about nothing.  You need regular followup care to manage your diabetes and to avoid long-term care. What floor are you on?

Have a good week,

Peggy

Sept. 26, 2014