Diabetes can be kept under control with diet, medications and lifestyle changes. However, when a diabetic fails to get adequate treatment or ignores the condition for a long time, the blood sugar level rises to abnormally high levels. Poorly controlled diabetes or uncontrolled diabetes is associated with a number of serious health complications.
Consistent high blood sugar level for a prolonged period damages almost every vital organ of the body. Exposure to excess glucose circulating in the blood affects the functioning of the heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves and gums. Symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes vary, depending upon the organ affected by diabetes. They are primarily signs of nerve or blood vessel damage caused by long-term diabetes.
Signs & Symptoms of Uncontrolled Diabetes
Tingling or Numbness In Feet and Hands
Decreased sensation or numbness in the legs and feet is a common symptom of uncontrolled diabetes. It occurs due to slow down in blood circulation and nerve damage. If you cannot keep your blood sugar level under control, the excess sugar circulating in the blood for a prolonged period damages the nerves in the hands and feet.
This condition known as peripheral diabetic neuropathy causes tingling, burning or stabbing pain and reduces sensation in the extremities. Decreased sensation in the legs may even occur when the large blood vessels in the legs are damaged by diabetes.
Fluctuating vision or loss of vision is one of the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes is associated with diabetic retinopathy that damages the retina. Appearance of dark spots or empty areas in the vision and loss of eyesight occurs when the blood sugar levels remain higher than normal for several years. Diabetic retinopathy also increases the risk of developing cataract and glaucoma.
Nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, bloating, stomach pain and poor appetite are common digestive symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes.
These symptoms appear when the vagus nerve is damaged by diabetes causing gastroparesis, a digestive disorder characterized by delayed stomach emptying.
Overactive bladder, urine leakage and urine retention are common urologic symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes. These symptoms occur when the nerves that control the bladder are damaged by diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes also increases the urination frequency.
Uncontrolled diabetes damages the nerves and the blood vessels in the genitals, hindering proper sexual functions. In men, erectile dysfunction and retrograde ejaculation are frequently associated with diabetes. Diabetic women may experience vaginal dryness, painful sexual intercourse and poor sexual response.
Dizziness or Fainting
When diabetes persists for a prolonged period, you may experience dizziness, especially while standing up. This symptom of uncontrolled diabetes is also known as postural dizziness.
Inability to maintain the blood pressure level while changing the posture is responsible for this condition. Damage to the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart function causes postural dizziness.
Frequent Gum Problems
Diabetics tend to suffer from gum diseases.
Slow Healing of Wounds
Excess sugar in the blood weakens the immune system and impairs the wound healing process, thereby slowing down healing of wounds. Slow wound healing is a common symptom of uncontrolled diabetes.