Regular testing should help you keep track of your blood sugar if you have diabetes, but did you know that your body will actually send you physical warning signs when levels are getting too high? Read on for the physical signs diabetics should never ignore:
- Blurriness or burning in your eyes: When blood sugar rises, it weakens the blood vessels in your eyes and leaves behind cholesterol deposits in your retina. Early warning signs show up as burning pain; wait too long to seek treatment and the blurriness (a sign of vision loss) could develop.
- Itchy feet and scalp: Elevated blood sugar levels can impact your sweat glands, causing itchiness; it can also create an environment that’s favorable for bacterial and fungal infections.
- Foot abnormalities/cuts that don’t heal: When your blood sugar is high, the immune system becomes compromised and infections can more easily attack the body, particularly in outlying areas like the feet where circulation may already be compromised. Take notice if a cut lasts more than a few days: it could develop into an ulcer (a life threatening condition) if left untreated.
- Gum problems: When your saliva contains too much sugar, bacteria called Candida can form in your mouth, causing an infection called Thrush. Decaying teeth and swollen and/or bleeding gums can also be an indication of elevated blood sugars.
Once physical signs of blood sugar elevation have appeared, damage to your body may have already occurred. The best way to prevent diabetic complications is to stay in frequent contact with your team of physicians that should include, among others: your regular doctor, podiatrist, endocrinologist, ophthalmologist and dentist. I expect diabetic patients in my Houston podiatric office to see me at least twice a year: check with your other health care providers for their recommendations on visit frequency.