Managing diabetes

Managing diabetes


There are a number of complications that can result from diabetes.


Damage to the large blood vessels

Heart attacks and stroke: having diabetes increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. A family history of heart disease or stroke, smoking and being physically inactive also increase your risk.


Damage to the small blood vessels

Retinopathy: damage to the retinas at the back of your eyes, if left unchecked, can cause blindness.

Your eyes should be examined regularly by a qualified optometrist or eye specialist.


Nephropathy: hgh blood glucose levels can damage your kidneys over time, especially if you have high blood pressure. Keeping your blood glucose and blood pressure under control will help reduce your risk.


Peripheral vascular disease:

Damage to the blood vessels in the feet means their blood supply is limited, which can cause delayed healing from blisters or sores. In very serious cases, surgery may be necessary and amputation may be required. Visiting a podiatrist or health professional regularly regarding your feet is advised.


Neuropathy: neuropathy is nerve damage caused by high blood glucose levels. Nerve damage can lead to pain and loss of feeling to the hands and feet, known as peripheral neuropathy.


Symptoms of neuropathy include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Burning or pain at rest


Teeth and gum care

High blood glucose levels can cause tooth decay and gum infection, which can increase your risk of heart disease.


Warning signs include a dry mouth, burning tongue, red, sore, swollen or bleeding gums and white film on your gums or the inside of your cheeks or tongue. Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes and keep up regular visits.


Sex and diabetes

Sex is an important part of relationships. While most people with diabetes, both male and female, are able to lead completely normal sex lives, diabetes may contribute to sexual problems for some people.  The most common problem is erectile dysfunction in men (also known as ED or impotence).  Sex can also be an energetic exercise, which means there is a chance of having a hypo either during or after sex. In the longer term, problems while having sex are more common for people with diabetes.


Reducing complications from diabetes...

  • Manage your diabetes well
  • Keep your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol at target levels
  • Remember to see your GP for all your recommended screening tests
  • Take all prescribed treatments
  • Don't smoke. Call Quitline on 13 7848 for help
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes, five times a week
  • Follow a healthy eating plan
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Lose excess weight
  • Look after your feet and choose footwear that protects them