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4 Expert Answers About Diabetes Complications

By

N. Spencer Welch, MD

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This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the HealthGrades advertising policy.

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Tired and Aching Feet

It’s possible to live a full, healthy life with diabetes, but the key is managing the chronic disease well. When medications aren’t taken as prescribed, or when diet and exercise aren’t part of the treatment equation, serious complications may develop.

Piedmont Healthcare Endocrinologist N. Spencer Welch, MD, discusses what you need to know about avoiding diabetes complications. 

1. Q: What’s the connection between diabetes and your heart?

A: Folks with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than folks that don’t have diabetes. And they are four times more likely to die from heart attack or stroke than people who don’t have diabetes.

On top of tracking your diet and blood sugar, regular exercise is a key part of managing your diabetes. And while any exercise is better than none, certain activities have specific benefits for people with diabetes.

2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

2. Q: What are some other complications of diabetes to be aware of?

A: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease leading to dialysis, the leading cause of blindness, and the leading cause of amputations not caused by accidents or trauma. 

3. Q: Why do people begin experiencing complications of diabetes?

A: We work hard to get patients to do the right things, to get their A1C down and avoid complications. It is frustrating because, since some people are unwilling to give up their lifestyles or exercise or take their medications appropriately, we’ll see folks that develop complications. And it’s sad because the complications are avoidable. However there are some folks, if they start developing numbness or pain in their feet, or if they have a heart attack or something goes wrong with their kidneys or their eyes, all the sudden they get that wake-up call to say, ‘hey, this disease is real and I need to do something about it.’

4. Q: What do you think is the hardest part about treating diabetes?

A: The hardest part about treating diabetes is that it’s very labor-intensive and it doesn’t hurt – in the short-term. I mean, when you eat a little extra over the short term, it’s not going to hurt you. If you gain a few pounds over the short-term, it’s not going to hurt you. It’s always the long haul of diabetes working on the blood vessels and nerves that eventually leads to those complications that do hurt and get your attention.



THIS CONTENT DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This content is provided for informational purposes and reflects the opinions of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding your health. If you think you may have a medical emergency, contact your doctor immediately or call 911.


N. Spencer Welch, MD

Dr. N. Spencer Welch is an endocrinologist with Atlanta Diabetes Associates and Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. Dr. Welch received his medical training at Emory University and is board certified in Internal Medicine as well as Endocrinology and Metabolism.
View his Healthgrades profile >

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Publish Date: Dec 2, 2015

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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