Anxiety and Depression
For some people, managing their blood glucose levels every day in order to live a healthy life can be stressful. This stress can lead to a serious fear of hypoglycemia. About 14% of people with diabetes have generalized anxiety disorder.
What is anxiety?
People who have anxiety may have the feeling that “something is going to go wrong” or “I need to be sure nothing bad is going to happen.” Physical signs of anxiety can include:
- Muscle tension
- Feeling on edge
- Restlessness or irritability
- Sleep disturbance
Beyond generalized anxiety disorders, depression affects up to 3 in 10 people with diabetes. Depression can affect both mental and physical health, making it harder for people with diabetes to take care of themselves and their blood sugar levels.
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- High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the retina, causing the blood vessels to swell, leak or close, which stops the movement of blood
- This type of eye damage is called “diabetic retinopathy”, and it reduces or eliminates vision
- Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Canada, and around 2 million Canadians have some type of diabetic retinopathy
High Blood Pressure
- Having high blood sugar levels puts you at an increased risk of having high blood pressure, which can put additional stress on your body
- High blood pressure can lead to heart disease; people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease and/or stroke at a young age when compared to people without diabetes
- Your kidneys are responsible for removing waste and excess fluid and regulating how much salt or fluid you have in your body
- High blood pressure, in combination with high blood sugar levels, can lead to kidney damage, which may cause them to stop working properly, or stop them working at all
- Up to 50% of people with diabetes will show signs of kidney damage. Managing your diabetes can delay kidney damage, or prevent the loss of kidney function
People with diabetes are at an increased risk of amputation and foot ulcers, due to nerve damage in the lower limbs. The most common symptoms affect the toes and feet, and include:
- Throbbing or tingling
- Sharp pains or a feeling of being pricked with pins
These are side-effects to nerve damage, caused by high blood sugar levels. People who suffer from nerve damage have less feeling in their feet, and often fail to recognize small cuts or blisters which have the potential to become infected.