What is uncontrolled diabetes?

Uncontrolled diabetes is diabetes that is not being treated at all or is not being treated properly, causing blood sugar levels to rise in the patient. If allowed to persist, this condition can cause serious medical complications, eventually leading to death, usually as a result of cardiovascular disease or stroke. People who develop symptoms of diabetes should seek medical evaluation so they can receive treatment, and diabetes patients need regular checkups to determine if their condition is responding to treatment.

In people with diabetes, the body's ability to make or use insulin, an important metabolic hormone, is impaired. There are several forms of diabetes and they all act differently, and part of the evaluation and diagnosis process is a determination of what type of diabetes the patient has. The patient's blood sugar begins to rise because the body cannot metabolize it properly, and this causes a cascade of symptoms. In the early stages, diabetes is associated with thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue.

Consistently high blood glucose levels, as seen in uncontrolled diabetes, will cause multiple organ damage. The kidneys are overloaded and the heart and lungs are stressed. Blood pressure rises and blood vessels begin to be damaged. Diabetic neuropathy occurs, where nerves are damaged by free-floating glucose in the blood. Patients can develop vision problems as a result of damage to the retina or optic nerve. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes can develop seizures, fall into a coma, and eventually die.

Treatment of diabetes involves the use of dietary measures to control the amount of glucose in the body. Some patients need to take insulin because their bodies can't supply enough for their needs. Patients monitor blood sugar levels constantly, making adjustments to their lives as needed to address falling or rising levels. Patients with controlled diabetes can live very active and healthy lives and the prognosis is very good, thanks to significant advances in the treatment of diabetes.

Uncontrolled diabetes, as seen when people do not seek treatment or adhere to a treatment regimen, is a serious medical problem. In some regions, populations are not aware of the risks of diabetes and may not understand the importance of seeing a doctor and developing a treatment plan. Other patients have trouble buying medications or making lifestyle changes. In developing countries, government health agencies have created a number of initiatives designed to tackle uncontrolled diabetes with the goal of making the population healthier.

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