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Living with diabetes requires careful management to maintain optimal health and well-being. When diabetes is not properly managed, it can lead to various complications and negatively impact your overall quality of life.
This article will examine the cues that may imply you are not managing your diabetes properly. By acknowledging these cues, you can take the right steps to enhance your diabetes management and your overall health.
Signs of Poorly Managed Diabetes
Some of the warning signs that your diabetes is not managed properly are as follows.
1. Frequent urination
Your bladder is an organ that stores urine so that you do not have to visit the bathroom frequently. However, certain conditions, including diabetes, can reduce the bladder’s ability to hold urine, making you pee frequently.
Constantly feeling like you have to pee or experiencing incontinence could be a sign of diabetic bladder dysfunction (DBD). (1) DBD happens because high blood sugar levels can cause weakening of the bladder tissues and changes in the nerves that control your bladder.
High blood sugar levels that come with diabetes also put a metabolic burden on your bladder, leading to bladder instability, hyperactivity, and altered sensations. (1)
So, if you’re noticing these bladder issues and you have diabetes, speak with your doctor immediately.
2. Unexplained weight fluctuations
If you thought diabetes is simply about governing your blood sugar levels, think again. Body weight can also play a role in how well your diabetes is managed.
It doesn’t matter if you’re losing or gaining weight; the concern here is the unpredictability. Even if your weight is in the normal range, irrespective of your age, frequent fluctuations can be associated with poorly managed diabetes.
So, pay attention to your body weight and try to maintain a stable, healthy range. (2)
3. Excessive thirst
Excessive thirst, known as polydipsia, is a common issue arising from diabetes and can be risky. It can lead to dehydration and potential complications if the disease is not managed properly.
If you’re experiencing constant thirst, it’s essential to consult a doctor promptly for proper diagnosis and management. Remember, attending to your body and pursuing medical guidance are fundamental to staying healthy. (3)
4. Fatigue and low energy
Fatigue can be an indication of incorrectly managed diabetes. It means feeling extremely tired and lacking energy for exercise and daily tasks.
When diabetes is not properly managed, fatigue becomes a big obstacle. It can even make it harder to take care of yourself. It affects your motivation to eat healthy, exercise, and maintain a record of your blood sugar levels. (4)
So, if you’re constantly feeling tired and struggling to find energy, it’s important to check your diabetes management and make necessary improvements.
5. Blurred vision
Blurry vision means you can’t see images or details clearly, such as when a picture is out of focus. It can influence one or both eyes, and it may be constant, occasional, or intermittent.
If you have diabetes, blurry vision can be a sign that your blood sugar levels are not well managed.
Also, it is important to remember that uncontrolled diabetes over time can damage blood vessels, including those in the eyes. This can later cause a severe eye ailment called diabetic retinopathy. It causes blood and fluid to leak into the retina, resulting in blurry vision and eventually vision loss. (5)
Speak to your doctor about managing your glucose levels to avoid eye complications.
6. Slow wound healing
When you have diabetes, your body may have trouble healing wounds properly, increasing the time it takes to heal wounds. This is a problem because chronic wounds can have negative effects on your health.
Thus, slow wound healing can be a warning of inadequately managed diabetes.
It’s important to talk to a professional for managing diabetes and also to explore new treatments and medications that have the potential to improve the healing of chronic wounds. (6)
7. Numbness and tingling
Numbness and tingling are common signs of poorly managed diabetes. Blood sugar levels that stay elevated for an extended period can pave the way for a condition called diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerves in your body.
This happens because high blood sugar levels damage the nerves and disrupt their normal functioning. Additionally, impaired blood flow and lack of oxygen supply to the nerves contribute to their degeneration. (7)
Managing neuropathy requires a comprehensive approach, so make sure to get in touch with your doctor if you encounter these symptoms.
8. Recurring infections
Recurring infections can be a sign that diabetes is not well managed.
When you have diabetes, your immune system may not work as effectively, making you more susceptible to sickness. Elevated blood sugar levels create an environment that weakens your immune system and makes it difficult for you to keep infections away.
Infections can happen in different parts of your body, such as your feet, ears, sinuses, and even organs such as your gallbladder. These infections can be more severe and happen more repeatedly in those with diabetes. (8)
To prevent these infections and their complications, you have to employ proper prophylactic measures and manage your diabetes well.
9. Mood swings and poor mental health
Having diabetes can affect your life in various ways. If your blood sugar is not reasonably maintained, it can lead to complications and impact your mood and mental well-being.
Interestingly, the way your blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day can also play a role in your mood and mental state. Large swings or variations in your blood sugar levels can have a negative impact on your mood and quality of life. (9)
Additionally, it’s been observed that people with higher levels of anxiety tend to have more extreme changes in their blood sugar levels. Their anxiety and blood sugar levels go hand in hand, making things more challenging. (9)
So, if you’re experiencing recurring mood swings or mental issues alongside your diabetes, it’s essential to pay attention to your blood sugar control.
10. Itchy skin
Having diabetes can lead to various skin issues, including itching. The exact cause of this itchiness is not fully understood, but a couple of factors are associated with it.
One factor is dry skin. People with diabetes often have dry skin, which can make them more prone to itching. Applying moisturizers or emollients can help relieve the itch by hydrating the skin and improving its barrier function. (10)
If you experience persistent itching without any visible skin issues, it’s important to get screened for diabetes. Chronic itching can be a sign of poorly managed diabetes, and addressing the underlying condition is crucial for finding relief.
Complications of Poorly Managed Diabetes
Complications of poorly managed diabetes can seriously harm different parts of your body. They include: (11)
- Foot problems: Nerve damage and poor blood circulation due to high blood sugar can cause serious foot problems. If left untreated, it can lead to amputation. So, pay attention to any differences in how your feet appear or feel.
- Heart and stroke risks: With time, high blood sugar levels can damage your blood vessels, increasing the danger of heart attacks and strokes.
- Kidney issues: Diabetes can damage your kidneys, making it difficult for them to expel waste from the body. This is called diabetic nephropathy.
- Nerve damage: High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, affecting how your nerves send messages to different parts of your body. This can impact your senses, movement, and overall well-being.
- Oral problems: Excess sugar in the blood can lead to tooth decay, gum disorders, and other ailments in the mouth.
- Cancer: Diabetes is associated with an increased threat of developing particular cancers. Cancer treatments can also complicate diabetes management.
- Sexual challenges: Diabetes can affect blood flow and nerve function, leading to reduced sensations and an increased risk of infections in the genital area.
What to Remember for Diabetes Management?
It’s essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to establish an effective diabetes management plan.
Regular monitoring of your blood sugar levels, following a balanced meal plan, engaging in regular physical activity, taking prescribed medications, and attending regular checkups are key components of proper diabetes management.
Your healthcare team is there to support you on your journey, so don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance and support.
Most-Asked Questions About Managing Diabetes
Can exercise help in managing diabetes?
Can stress affect blood sugar levels?
Yes, stress can influence blood sugar levels by initiating hormonal responses.
Is it okay for people with diabetes to drink alcohol?
Moderate alcohol consumption may be acceptable for some individuals with diabetes, but it is important to consult a healthcare professional as alcohol can affect blood sugar levels and interact with diabetes medications.
Can smoking worsen diabetes?
Yes, smoking can worsen diabetes.
How frequently should blood sugar be monitored?
It is typically recommended to monitor levels multiple times a day such as at least twice per day.
Managing diabetes properly is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. The signs mentioned in this article are important indicators that your diabetes may not be well managed. Recognizing these signs and taking action can help you avoid potential complications and improve your quality of life.
Take charge of your diabetes management and prioritize your health. With proper care and attention, you can live a fulfilling and healthy life with diabetes.