Dangers and Complications of Diabetes

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Over the years, I’ve written about the dangers and complications of diabetes, but I recently came across some staggering figures from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affecting the senior population. I know many seniors who are in the pre-diabetes stage, but many of them take it in stride and don’t seem to understand the consequences.

Here are the statistics that may be of concern to you:

  • Among U.S. residents aged 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9%,  had diabetes in 2010.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.

The estimated number of new cases in 2010 was also remarkable. For those between 45 to 54 it was 1,052,000 and for those 65 and over it was 390,000 making it a total of almost 1.5 million people. Medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. Once they acquire these illnesses, they often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.

People with diabetes aged 60 years or older are 2–3 times more likely to report an inability to walk one-quarter of a mile, climb stairs, or do housework compared with people without diabetes in the same age group. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and can be reversed, but it takes a lot of work. If you need a partner to get started and hold you accountable, check out the Gracefully Age Program and grow out of being a diabetic statistic.

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Diabetes Epidemic and Complications

50-fabRecently I attended a wellness fair called “50 and Fabulous” held in Fairfax, VA. There were approximately 70 vendors. There were a couple of diabetes organizations and many others like the optometrist and the hospital were passing out literature on diabetes.

So I wondered, how prevalent is diabetes? According to an article in Health News, Catherine Cowie of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health, says: “We’re facing a diabetes epidemic that shows no signs of abating, judging from the number of individuals with pre-diabetes.” Additionally, researchers say one-third of adults in the United States 65 and over have diabetes and another 30% are pre-diabetic. http://budurl.com/rgdq

Look at this list of diabetic complications from the FDA:

  • Heart disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes. Three out of four diabetes-related deaths are caused by heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. People with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease than persons without diabetes. Even people with type 2 diabetes who do not have heart disease have an increased risk of having a heart attack.
  • Blindness: Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels that feed the retina of the eye. In nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), an early stage of diabetic eye disease, the blood vessels may leak fluid. This may cause the retina to swell and vision to blur, a condition called diabetic macular edema. In advanced or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. The abnormal blood vessels don’t supply the retina with normal blood flow. In addition, they may eventually pull on the retina and cause it to detach.
  • Kidney Failure: Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys. Even when drugs and diet are able to control diabetes, the disease can lead to kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy) and kidney failure. Healthy kidneys act like filters to clean the blood of waste products and extra fluid. Damaged kidneys do not clean the blood well. Instead, waste products and fluid build up in the blood.
  • Foot Ulcers: People with diabetes are at risk for foot injuries due to numbness caused by nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) and low blood flow to the legs and feet. The most serious injury is a foot ulcer. Diabetic foot ulcers are at very high risk of becoming infected, and sometimes they cannot be healed. Non-healing foot ulcers are a frequent cause of amputation in people with diabetes. Patients with foot ulcers may use wound dressings, skin substitutes, or other treatments to protect and heal their skin.

Wow! Isn’t this list enough to send shivers through your spine? Some people prefer to stay on diabetes medication to control their blood sugar level, but most prefer to do it naturally through diet and lifestyle changes. If you’re in the latter category, what are you doing? If you’re interested in lowering your blood sugar naturally, read about how GluCare helps you maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

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