High blood pressure and cholesterol: This is information on diabetes that When you have type 2 diabetes, your body can’t properly use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. In turn, your HDL (or “good”) cholesterol lowers, and your levels of harmful blood fats called triglycerides rise. Insulin resistance also contributes to hardened, narrow arteries, which in turn increases your blood pressure. As a result, about 70 percent of people with either type of diabetes also have hypertension—a risk factor for stroke, heart disease, and trouble with thinking and memory.
Failing to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, either with diet and exercise alone or by adding medications, accelerates the rate at which all your other complications progress, says Robert Gabbay, MD, PhD, chief medical officer at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Brain health issues: A study about information on diabetes published in the journal Neurology suggests that diabetes zaps brainpower. A team of Harvard neurologists and psychiatrists followed men and women with type 2 diabetes, examining blood flow to different regions of their brains and testing their intellectual performance. After 2 years, participants’ cognitive abilities showed signs of falling off, specifically their executive functioning—the ability to plan, organize, remember things, prioritize, pay attention, and get started on tasks. “It appears that people with diabetes have some abnormalities of control of blood flow to the brain,” explains Rockville, Maryland–based endocrinologist Helena Rodbard, MD, who was not involved in the study. “And this appears to be correlated with a more rapid loss of mental function with age.”
Vision problems: This is information on diabetes that more than 4 million have some degree of retinopathy or damage to the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This happens because high blood glucose levels harm the eye’s delicate blood vessels, a process that can begin as early as 7 years before diagnosis.