Diabetes complications: Serious, but preventable
Everyone knows about the worst-worst-worst case scenarios. But the experts Reader’s Digest interviewed assured us that they’re rare—and very preventable. “Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you will lose your sight or your kidneys or your legs,” says Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. “None of these things has to happen. You can stop or reverse the progression and get back your quality of life.”
The key is to be aware of the risks that can happen when diabetes isn’t well controlled (these everyday habits can ruin diabetes control)—and work with your doctors to make sure yours is.
Diabetes complications: You can get more cavities and gum infections
People with diabetes don’t have as much saliva, which can lead to dry mouth and a greater risk of cavities and gum disease, says George L. King, MD, research director at Joslin Diabetes Center, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and author of The Diabetes Reset. And you need a normal blood sugar to maintain proper oral health, says Dr. Cypess. “It’s very important for people with diabetes to have regular evaluations of their teeth and gums, or else they could lose them. People with diabetes need to be more vigilant about brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist than a person ordinarily would be.” Here are some things your dentist wishes you would do differently.