If you have a child or family member who has diabetes, you should be aware of the complications that could arise from the condition so that you can act quickly and help keep any problems from getting worse. In addition to the main complications of diabetes, other health problems can come up as a result of diabetes that should be monitored for by a doctor. If someone in your family has diabetes, make sure they know to be careful of these four conditions to ensure that they’re caught early if they arise.
There are several complications that can affect the feet of diabetics. Diabetic nerve pain can be a sign that diabetes has damaged nerves in the feet and legs. According to WebMD, reduced blood flow caused by a condition known as peripheral vascular disease can also occur at a higher rate in people with diabetes. Other foot problems that diabetics are more prone to and can lead to serious infections include athlete’s foot, calluses and foot ulcers. Because diabetes affects the immune system, infections are harder to fight off, especially in extremities like the feet, making it extremely important to treat them immediately upon discovery.
Diabetics are often more prone to skin conditions that could be life-threatening without prompt treatment. Along with bacterial infections, blisters and rashes, diabetes can cause pink papules on the skin to form, a condition known as eruptive xanthoma. This is just one of several skin conditions that diabetes is known to cause. If there are any rashes, papules, plaques, or lesions on a family member with diabetes, it’s extremely important that you have it examined by a dermatologist as soon as possible to prevent them from developing into more serious conditions.
Cataracts can lead to cloudy vision and, eventually, blindness. People with diabetes are especially vulnerable to developing cataracts because of increased blood sugar levels. Because children with diabetes have a harder time managing their blood sugar levels than adults, it’s especially important that you have their eyes examined yearly by an eye doctor to detect developing cataracts or other eye problems in their early stages. If cataracts are found, cataract treatment surgery can help restore full vision. While cataracts do eventually cause blindness, the blindness is reversible by removing and replacing the outer layer of the eye where the cataract has developed, completely curing the condition. Modern surgeries usually involve using lasers to achieve the best results with greater precision.
Heart disease doesn’t always present symptoms, so it’s especially important to monitor the heart health of a family member with diabetes. Diabetes often causes heart disease by raising blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Insulin resistance is greater in overweight people with diabetes, which can also increase heart disease risk. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits and seeing a doctor regularly can make diabetics less prone to heart disease. Annual to bi-annual checkups are generally suggested for those with diabetes, especially in children, to monitor their health and ensure that any potential triggers for heart complications are detected before they can cause serious damage.
Diabetes can be a manageable condition if the right steps are taken to prevent any associated health problems. Both children and adults should be regularly seen by a primary doctor as well as an eye doctor to ensure that any developing conditions are caught early. When any of the previously mentioned conditions are caught in their early stages, they can be reversed and are much less costly to treat than their more developed forms. The risk of contracting all of these conditions is also greatly mitigated by healthy living and by strictly monitoring blood sugar levels with appropriate insulin applications. Allowing blood sugar to stay too low or too high for long periods of time or too frequently serves to increase the likelihood of these conditions, making it especially important to monitor for them in children, whose blood sugar levels are more likely to fluctuate as they grow.