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Diabetes – Oral Health Connection

Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects the flow of blood. Sugar and other nutrients are transported from the gut to the cells through blood. In Diabetes, too much glucose builds up in the bloodstream, or too little insulin is produced by pancreatic beta cells. People with diabetes have a higher risk of dental cavities because their bodies cannot produce enough saliva to wash away bacteria and food particles that lead to tooth decay.

Signs and symptoms of Diabetes

Since Diabetes is a chronic illness, having high blood sugar for an extended period can cause severe damage to body organs.

Common symptoms of Diabetes include:

1. Frequent urination as the kidneys try to clear sugar from the bloodstream by peeling away excess sugar in the urine.

2. Excessive thirst, excessive hunger, or weakness due to dehydration from excessive urination

3. Blurred vision or seeing double

4. Itchy skin, unexplained weight loss, feeling tired after eating, and unexplained food cravings are other common symptoms that may occur if blood glucose rises too rapidly (hyperglycemia)

5. Urinary tract infection (UTI) due to infection from low urine flow

6. Impotence, infertility, and impotence lead to reduced production of sperm cells which in turn reduces fertility

7. Insulin noncompliance may lead to an increased risk of cataract development and blindness.

8. Weight gain or loss that is excessive, thus leading to obesity which further increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes

9. It can cause anxiety and stress due to the possibility of missing a meal.

10. It may lead to heartburn and acid reflux that causes abdominal pain and difficulty sleeping

11. People who have insulin resistance will have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)

12. Excess protein in the urine may lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure if left untreated

13. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of Diabetes that requires regular eye exams that can lead to blindness if not detected early on.

14. It can also lead to nerve damage which causes foot ulcers, leg ulcers, or even amputation of the foot or leg

How to Control Diabetes

The best way to address the above risks is to control blood glucose levels. When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys must work extra hard to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream. This can lead to kidney damage, fatigue, and general weakness. Once you feel better, you can try controlling your blood glucose by taking medication or eating a healthier diet.

One should eat healthy foods that are rich in fiber and protein.

1. Eat whole grains, cereal (brown rice or oatmeal), fruits, and vegetables, usually low on the glycemic index, a list of foods that cause high blood sugar.

2. Eat lean meats and fish, nuts, eggs, yolks, and yogurt (except for milk) because these foods do not cause high blood sugar.

3. Eat healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil instead of saturated fats in butter and animal products.

4. Watch your portion size, especially when eating processed foods such as chips, pretzels, and desserts, as they have been scientifically proven to be higher in carbohydrates than condiments made with oils.

5. Make sure to eat small meals every three hours to keep blood glucose levels steady throughout the day, which is more effective than eating large meals once or twice a day because it prevents hypoglycemia.

6. Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored or stressed.

7. Eat slowly and chew your food well (gum if necessary).

8. Avoid taking a high glucose drink after your meal unless it is prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner to avoid hypoglycemia

9. Monitor body weight regularly to make sure that you do not gain too much weight or lose too little weight if there is a change in appetite or physical activity

10. Drink water while eating and throughout the day to prevent dehydration which can lead to kidney damage, fatigue, and general weakness.

11. Manage stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, massage therapy, etc.

In conclusion, Diabetes can lead to severe complications when blood sugar levels are not kept under control for an extended period. By making the right medical and dietary changes, we can reduce our chances of developing high blood sugar and the many unpleasant side effects that come with it. If you think that you may be at risk for diabetes, you should consult with your primary health care provider as soon as possible.

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