Healthwatch: Dangers of Diabetes

Diabetes affects 23.6 million people in the United States. Close to 6 million don't even know it. Many physical problems are related to the condition.

Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin in the body or the body can't use the insulin efficiently.

People with diabetes typically have other problems than just an unhealthy level of blood sugar. That's why it's especially important for people to be checked out when they have warning signs of diabetes.

"Being thirsty all the time, especially for water. Having to urinate a lot, going more frequently than usual. Some people feel like their feet are burning," said Dr. Elizabeth V. Farrar of Rush Urgent Care Clinic. "Once again, it's the damage to the nerves and sometimes there's this burning foot pain. Sometimes that's the first symptom that someone may have is foot pain."

Dr. Farrar says too much sugar in the blood stream damages blood vessels and nerves. That's why so many organs can be at risk without proper care.

"Diabetes affects the blood vessels in your heart. That puts you at increased risk for having a heart attack," Farrar said. "It affects your eyes. It can lead to blindness. It can lead to kidney failure, where you have to go to dialysis to have your blood filtered. It can affect your nerves such that you end up getting an infection on your foot and then losing it, and then you're without a foot the rest of your life. So it is very important to know your diabetic status, you know, how your blood sugars are running. But not just that. There are so many other factors. The cholesterol, the blood pressure."

If you believe you have warning signs of diabetes, you should be checked by a doctor. Diagnostic services are available at Rush Urgent Care Clinic on Highway 19 North.

Farrar accepts appointments will 4:30 p.m. daily and her partners accept walk-ins daily.

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