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Controlling High Blood Sugar to Minimize Health Concerns

Controlling High Blood Sugar to Minimize Health Concerns
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 5 min read

Everyone who has blood sugar problems wants to keep their number in check. However, it can be difficult to do this at all times and keep the number in a healthy range. For those who have type 2 diabetes, it can be a constant struggle to control high blood sugar and to lead a healthier life. Not controlling your blood sugar well can have a wide range of serious effects on your body. 

Diabetes is a terrible disease that can affect virtually every part of the body. When your body is unable to control your blood sugar levels, it can cause severe damage over time. It can do everything from damage the heart to causing eye problems. Every system can be damaged by its effects, so it's important to do your best to keep your blood sugar down. 

Blood Sugar And Kidney Damage

If you are able to control your high blood sugar, you greatly decrease your chances for developing kidney problems. Your blood sugar levels are important for maintaining your kidneys and keeping them healthy. There are two kidneys, and each of them is sized much like your fist. They clean out the blood and remove waste from it. If you have high blood sugar levels over time, it will begin to damage the inside of these organs. This can cause them to filter good particles out of your blood as well as waste particles. 

As the kidneys continue to be damaged, the waste begins to build up and the kidneys are able to function less and less. When this happens, it is called chronic kidney disease. The leading cause of this disease is diabetes. If you are able to control your blood sugar, it will lower your risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Controlling blood sugar will also slow down, or even stop, the progression of this disease. 

Blindness And Blood Sugar

High blood sugar even affects the eyes in a number of ways. It can cause damage to the retina of the eye, the part at the back of the eye that receives images and transmits them to the brain via nerve signals. When blood sugar is too high and stays that way, it begins to damage the tiny capillaries that are in the retina. When this happens, there is a small amount of bleeding that occurs from these capillaries. During an eye exam, your eye doctor will be able to spot these and make a diagnosis.

Diabetes then leads to diabetic retinopathy. During the early stages, the bleeding is seen. Once the bleeding has started, there is a fluid that escapes from the blood, and this creates "hard exudates," a yellow substance. When this leaking fluid is found close to the macula, a part of the retina, it begins to cause problems with vision. This is known as macular edema. As the damage to the eye gets worse, some of the capillaries will close off. Because these capillaries supplied the retina with blood, parts of the retina begin to die.

As diabetic retinopathy gets worse, new capillaries begin to grow and bleed, and this causes scar tissue to form. This can cause the detachment of the retina from the eyewall. When this happens, vision is lost. If you have diabetes, you are also at risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts, both of which can greatly affect your vision. 

Blood Sugar And Nerve Damage

High blood sugar for a long time causes neuropathy, or nerve damage, to develop across the body. Different types of neuropathy affect different areas of the body, but the type that damages the nerves in the legs and arms is a common one. This may be felt as numbness to various levels of pain. Another neuropathy type causes damage to the stomach, heart and other organs.

Up to 50% of those who have diabetes have nerve damage, but not all of them notice any symptoms. As you continue to live with diabetes, your risk of developing nerve damage grows. And as it grows, many of your organs will also become damaged.

With nerve damage often comes gastroparesis. This is when nerve damage causes the stomach to not empty itself normally. When this happens, your blood sugar can go up as the food is finally out of the stomach. This can make your sugar levels difficult to predict. If you have gastroparesis, you can expect symptoms like, nausea, heartburn, vomiting, weight loss, rapidly feeling full, bloating and a loss of appetite. 

Your Blood Sugar And Your Sexual Function

Men who have diabetes have double the chance of developing erectile dysfunction. They also get problems with their erections about 10 to 15 years before men without diabetes develop them.

As high blood sugar levels continue with diabetes, it affects your nervous system as well as your circulation. High levels will damage the nerves and small blood vessels in the area. To have an erection, the nerves and blood vessels must be healthy. When there is damage done to the nerves that are in charge of sexual response and stimulation, it makes it more difficult to get an erection that is firm enough for intercourse. Part of maintaining your sexual health is to maintain your blood sugar levels. Without consistent control, erection problems often get worse over time. 

What Is Acarbose?

Acarbose is a medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise to help regulate blood sugar levels. It may be used along with insulin or another medication for diabetes as ordered by your physician. 

What Is Acarbose Used For?

To help treat diabetes and high blood sugar, acarbose will slow down the rate at which the carbohydrates you eat are digested by your body. This helps to keep blood sugar levels under control. It works from inside the intestines to slow the breaking down of carbohydrates as well as their absorption. It can help your blood sugar not to rise as much after you have eaten a meal.

Because it can help keep your blood sugar at healthy levels, this drug can help you to avoid blindness, kidney damage, losing limbs and effects on your sexual function. It can also make you less likely to have a stroke or heart attack. It is generally taken three times a day with the very first taste of each meal. 

Monitoring Your Blood Sugar

Along with eating a healthy, low-fat diet and getting regular exercise, it's helpful to check your blood sugar at different points throughout the day. It is often done after a vigorous exercise session, when you are sick, when you have a serious medical emergency, before you have surgery, during travel and in times of high stress as well as during regular testing times. It is often suggested by physicians to check about three times a day, and more if you need to.

It's also important to watch out for symptoms of high blood sugar levels. These can include frequent urination, increased thirst, a dry mouth, drowsiness, hunger, breath that smells fruity, weight loss, blurry vision and dry skin. If you notice these symptoms, check your levels and do what your doctor recommends to get your levels back under control. 


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.