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What Is Uncontrolled Diabetes?

A person with foot and ankle swelling, which is a sign of diabetes.
When diabetes is left untreated, blood sugar levels increase.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 16 April 2014
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Uncontrolled diabetes is diabetes that is not being treated at all, or is not being adequately treated, 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 diabetes symptoms should seek a medical evaluation so they can get 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 produce or use insulin, an important metabolic hormone, is impaired. There are a number of forms of diabetes and they all act differently, with part of the process of evaluating and diagnosing being a determination of what kind of diabetes the patient has. The patient's blood sugar starts to rise because the body cannot adequately metabolize it, 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 damage to multiple organs. The kidneys become overloaded and the heart and lungs are stressed. Blood pressure rises and the blood vessels start to become damaged. Diabetic neuropathy, where the nerves are damaged by the free-floating glucose in the blood, occurs. Patients can develop vision problems as a result of injuries to the retina or optic nerve. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes may develop seizures, fall into a coma, and eventually die.

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

Uncontrolled diabetes, as seen when people fail to seek treatment or do not adhere to a treatment regimen, is a serious medical issue. 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 affording medications or making lifestyle modifications. In developing nations, a number of initiatives designed to address uncontrolled diabetes have been created by government health agencies with the goal of making the population healthier.

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Discuss this Article

anon314266
Post 4

My 76 year old mother-in-law's A1C is 8.9. Her doctor has told her not to check her glucose levels at all. She was a little overweight, but not morbidly obese. She's lost 17 pounds over the past few months, watching what she eats, so he presumes she's following a healthy diabetic diet.

She's on over 2,000mg of Metformin daily and still the number is high. Is it possible that nothing will help with her levels? She has 80 percent blocked arteries and a defibrillator so exercise is not possible.

anon308949
Post 3

I have type-II diabetics on both sides of my family. Those who watch their diet and take their medicine do very well. I have a 90-year-old aunt who is diabetic. Others died in their 60s, because they ate cake every day and didn't want to take all the insulin prescribed by their doctor. So don't feel sorry for your friend. She has a tendency toward a disease that while serious, can be effectively managed.

comfyshoes
Post 2

@BrickBack - Wow that is so sad. I read that the causes of diabetes are really a direct result of having high levels of fat in the blood, along with high blood pressure and eating a high fat diet. I also read that if you are overweight or had gestational diabetes and had a baby that weighed more than nine pounds then you are at the highest risk of developing diabetes.

I know that regular exercise is supposed to lower the risk of developing the disease.

BrickBack
Post 1

I had a friend whose mother had uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. She initially had to have her foot amputated and then her leg. Eventually she went blind and died. The problem that she had was that she did not take care of herself. I think that she may have been in denial of the diabetes signs and just ignored the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes.

I am really worried about my friend because she is significantly overweight which is a risk factor in developing diabetes and the fact that her mother died of the disease really makes her even more vulnerable to the disease.

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