Care at NUH

Understanding Diabetes Complications

Diabetes and eye problems

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes mellitus, is a leading cause of vision loss in individuals with diabetes. Persistent high blood sugar levels can damage the small blood vessels in the retina, potentially leading to vision impairment or blindness. Fortunately, this condition is preventable. 

How can I prevent diabetic retinopathy? 

Maintaining normal blood sugar levels and blood pressure helps prevent serious eye complications. Regular eye examinations are crucial, as arranged by your doctor. 

Why must I go for regular eye tests even when I have no problems seeing? 

In the initial stages, diabetic retinopathy may not affect your vision. However, as the condition progresses, vision problems can become apparent. Early detection through regular eye exams is key to preventing blindness. Hence, it is vital for individuals with diabetes to have regular eye checks, even if they do not currently have vision issues. 

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Diabetes and kidney problems

What is diabetic kidney disease? 

Diabetic kidney disease is a complication where high sugar levels damage the kidneys' filtering system. This damage can lead to protein leakage and loss of kidney function, potentially resulting in kidney failure. Like other diabetes complications, kidney failure is preventable. 

How can I prevent diabetic kidney disease? 

Keeping blood sugar levels and blood pressure within normal ranges is crucial for preventing kidney complications. Regular blood and urine tests, as recommended by your doctor, are important for monitoring your condition. If you have diabetic kidney disease, medications to lower blood pressure may be prescribed to prevent the condition from worsening. 

Why must I go for regular urine tests even though I feel well? 

In its early stages, diabetic kidney disease may cause small proteins to leak into the urine without noticeable symptoms. Regular urine tests can detect these early changes, allowing for timely intervention to prevent the disease from progressing. 

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Diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Diabetes can cause blood vessel damage and blockages, leading to these serious complications. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. 

What can I do to prevent heart attacks and strokes?  

To reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, consider these lifestyle changes:  

Additionally, work with your healthcare team to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels within target ranges. By following these guidelines, you can prevent diabetes complications and maintain a healthy life. 

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