Why diabetes should be treated

You may think, "My diabetes is not bad enough to need treatment," or "I must not really have diabetes if I don't need to take insulin." It can be difficult to accept a diagnosis of diabetes, and if you don't have symptoms, you may not feel like you have the disease. However, you should treat diabetes to prevent life-threatening emergencies and serious long-term health problems.

Life-threatening emergencies Life-threatening emergencies—diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar state—develop when your blood sugar (glucose) level rises very high. These emergencies can be prevented by treating high blood sugar adequately. Because you may not notice early symptoms of high blood sugar, test your blood sugar level whenever you think it may be above a safe range and treat high blood sugar early.

Long-term health problems Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves throughout your body, leading to heart, blood vessel, kidney, eye, and nerve diseases. These diseases can lead to serious disabilities, such as blindness, and death. Complications will occur faster if your diabetes is not treated adequately. Keeping your blood sugar levels within a safe range reduces your risk for developing long-term complications.

Quality of life You will have more energy and feel better physically if your diabetes is properly treated. The lifestyle changes you make will help you live a long and healthy life.

Last Updated: June 16, 2008

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