A few weeks ago the coffee club started discussing some of the side effects of being overweight. One of the serious side effects is diabetes. Uncle Bud, our oldest member, is most likely in better shape than any of us. If you remember “Uncle Bud” is the guy who is blessed with the gift of making those around him want to do their best and be their best. (We did reject his plan to bring the scales to the meetings. We will listen to his “weight to wellness” tips. But step on scales for coffee; no way.) He encourages us to face a problem head on and reminds us often that knowledge is power. Today that is exactly what he told us about Type 2 Diabetes. Yes, it can be scary to learn you or a loved has Type 2 Diabetes but it is controllable. Uncle Bud agreed to research diabetes so he could help us understand more about the disease. Being the person he is he never fails points out that what he tells us only scratches the surface and we must read and study on our own too.
To no one’s surprise Uncle Bud is ready to get started. He begins by telling us to pipe down and get serious. Yea, sometimes he forgets we are there for fun too. We will remind him but not until he finishes his spill. Gotta love the ole guy.
So he begins; it can be easy to ignore Type 2 Diabetes in the early stages because most people feel fine. Complications develop gradually but can become very serious and even life-threatening. Some of the complications caused by Type 2 Diabetes are:
Heart/Blood Vessel Disease. Diabetes increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries and high blood pressure.
Nerve Damage. Excess sugar in your blood can injure the walls of blood vessels that nourish your nerves. Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause you to lose all sense of feelings in affected limbs. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause many problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
Kidney Damage. There are millions of tiny blood vessel clusters in the kidneys that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can cause damage to the filtering system. If the damage is severe kidney failure or disease can occur. If this happens dialysis or a kidney transplant may be required.
Eye Damage. Diabetes may cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina which can potentially lead to blindness. Diabetes increases the risk of conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Foot Damage. If you develop nerve damage in the feet, or poor blood flow to the feet, the risk of foot complications increases. Severe damage might lead to amputation of a toe, foot, or leg.
Hearing Impairment. The chances of hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
Skin Conditions. Diabetes has been found to leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
Alzheimer’s Disease. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease may increase if you have Type 2 Diabetes. The exact connection between Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease remains unclear but it appears that the poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be.
Always wanting to leave us with a word of encouragement Uncle Bud reminds us the best way to avoid developing diabetes is to take care of the good health we have been blessed with. He reminds us to eat healthy and exercise. As we leave the coffee shop he has us all wanting to do just that.